17 December 2012

Why I didn't like The Hobbit movie


"A book is a book, and a movie is a movie." I completely agree with this statement. When movies are adapted from books, lots of details are omitted, because books are much more complex. Sometimes minor additions are made, to add to the movie's plot, or to make it easier for the audience. But rarely sometimes characters are invented or random battles added. Unfortunately, this happened in The Hobbit movie, released a  few days ago.

I have always been very critical with Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy movies, especially because of some changes in the story, for example: Arwen rescuing Frodo and Elves appearing at Helm's Deep, but mostly Frodo dismissing Samwise and trusting Gollum instead. Despite these and some other changes (if they made a literal transcription of the Book into movies, it would take around 10 films or so!), the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy are wonderful and somewhat follow the plot. So when "The Hobbit" movies were announced, I already feared Peter Jackson and his team would change some things that I would dislike, and then when I saw a beardless Dwarf, a fictional feminine Elf and the sudden division of the movies into three parts (which by the way, a decision  made because monetary reasons, in my opinion), my fears were strengthened. Nevertheless, I was eager but emotionally prepared when I went to watch it, especially after reading some reviews which stated that although the movie had some differences with the book, it was fully enjoyable.

The prologue I found remarkable, I loved it! Lots of Dwarves, the Kingdom under the Mountain in its splendour, they only showing Smaug's shadow .... fantastic! Afterwards,  when Bilbo appeared, the problems commenced. In the Book, Bilbo invites Gandalf to tea after his sudden appearance, action which Bilbo regrets. In the movie, Bilbo simply dismisses him (or so I believe, I've only watched it once). So in the movie this element of Bilbo's own blunder (as he himself sees it) of inviting Gandalf into his house is missing. The Dwarves arrival I found hilarious, though I missed their long, coloured beards and hooded cloakes, and Thorin doesn't arrive separately: a small detail, though. And the Misty Mountains song is simply fabulous.

Then one of the biggest alterations from the Book to the movie takes place: while in the Book it is Gandalf who persuades and almost forces Bilbo to follow the Dwarves, in the movie Bilbo takes the decision entirely by himself! One of the key points in The Hobbit is Bilbo's transformation from a normal, comfortable hobbit into an adventurous one, and the movie completely ignores it in this section! He should of left Bag-end without anything, not with his huge backpack!

Then comes the Troll scene. Gandalf mysteriously disappears, and all Dwarves see a light at the distance, and send Bilbo to investigate, is captured, and confesses his companions are near. Later,  the Dwarves are captured in pairs and unawares, they don't suddenly charge at the Trolls, except for Thorin, who is soon captured. Then Gandalf comes and saves the day. But not in the movie, where it's Bilbo who outwits the Trolls and has them discuss cooking issues until daylight! Another meaningful change, in my opinion, since Bilbo has not yet matured, as it's depicted in the movie.

Next,  an utterly crazy, unneeded and ridiculous series of events happen, starting with the inclusion of Azog. Azog indeed killed Thrór, though not in the battle of Azanulbizar (Nanduhirion), in 2799 T.A., but nine years before! In fact, that battle was fought because of his decapitation! Thorin is indeed wounded, but not by Azog (as in the movie), who beheads Náin, Thorin's relative, not Thrór! Azog is slain in battle by Dáin Ironfoot, though strangely enough, this great Orc is included as Thorin's mortal enemy! In fact, as Britta points out in her outstanding movie review (be sure to check it out!), it seems the main conflict in this first movie is Thorin's dispute with Azog and not his quest on reclaiming Erebor! 

Radagast is also included in the movie, where he supposedly discovers Sauron has returned to Dol Guldur (which by the way, is pronounced Dol GUldur, not Dol GuldUr, as the Istari and Elven Lords pronouce incorrectly, go figure!), and travels all the way from Mirkwood to the west of the Misty Mountains to warn Gandalf. Well, in the Book of course this meeting never happened: it's in 2941 T.A. the Dwarves' and Bilbo's journey takes place, although in 2850, ninety-one years before, that Gandalf himself discovers that Sauron is the Necromancer of Dol Guldur, and this is when precisely he recovers Thrór's map and key from Thráin, who was held captive in this fortress. Funny enough, in the movie Gandalf doesn't explain how he got the map and key, for of course it would contradict this change in the plot they mistakenly created. Radagast's bizarre presence is followed by an attack of Orcs and Wargs to the west of Rivendell, who in turn were destroyed by a small Elven company, the Dwarves' coming to Rivendell by some mysterious rock passage and not by crossing the Bruinen, their hatred and mistrust towards the Elves, I think all this was completely uncalled for! In the Book, right after the Trolls' episode, they gladly head to Rivendell, although more because of the thought of rest and food, and not because of meeting the Elves per se. Thorin receives the Elrond's counsels willingly, not in a reluctact fashion as Peter Jackson showed. During  this sequence I really doubted if I was watching an adaptation of Professor Tolkien's The Hobbit, because the story took so many turns and twists I could not believe what I was seeing. Adapting a book is something, but then adding lots of scenes and characters really bothered me!

The Dwarves in the Book are delighted to have Gandalf with them, something that is completely altered in the movie, when they leave him behind! They abandoned their mightiest member! Nonesense! Then they get captured by Orcs (I always thought as the Great Goblin as a mighty warrior, not as a fat, dum one with this weird thing under his chin!), and again, the story changes: while Bilbo gets captured and is dropped accidentally by Dori, becomes unconscious, is missed by the Orcs and while he is crawling in complete darkness is that he finds the Ring (the most relevant and fascinating scene in the whole Book), in the movie he escapes from the Orcs because of his cleverness, falls into the abyss, hides, watches Gollum kill an orc and sees the Ring slip from him, and retrieves it. If there's one scene that should remain truth to Master Tolkien's story, it's this one! It is a key event that changed the destiny of Arda forever! But well, the moviemakers didn't seem to care much about it.

The Riddles in the Dark scene is great! Gollum is fantastic, and though the Bilbo's luck element is ignored, important as it is (as Britta points out), some riddles are left out, such as the Dark one, the Sun and daisies one and the fish one.

And to end this mini-essay, the scene of the Thorin's Company escape from the Wargs is modificated too (I was not surprised at all by when this moment arrived): Azog showing up, Thorin confronting him, Bilbo saving him (really? come on!), just supported my negative opinion of the movie I had by that time, and that I still have. 

Summarizing, the movie itself is greatly made, with a catchy score, beautiful landscapes, etc, but with too many additions, omissions and changes from the Book, way too many to ignore. I feel Peter Jackson abused of his power of adapting the movie from the original story. I really feel sad for Christopher Tolkien, seeing how his father's works are once more (and this time much more deeply) turned into a commercial issue, greatly altered against his will. Citing an interview  he made to "Le Monde": "Invited to meet Peter Jackson, the Tolkien family preferred not to. Why? “They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people 15 to 25,” Christopher says regretfully. “And it seems that The Hobbit will be the same kind of film.” "He was correct. It is.

I'm really scared of how the movies' plot will be in the next two films, and honestly I'm sure I'll feel sadder than I feel now, if the rumours about the plot of Desolation of Smaug are true.  


03 December 2012

Tolkien in Outer Space



Last August 6th 2012, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) approved nine new names for craters in the planet Mercury, and among those artists immortalized was J. R. R. Tolkien himself! What a great honour indeed! 

According to the original press release, "in keeping with the established naming theme for craters on Mercury, all of the newly designated features are named after famous deceased artists, musicians, or authors or other contributors to the humanities." The craters named are in the north polar region, since it "is of high scientific interest because of the shadowed craters there that host radar-bright deposits that may consist of water ice. All of the nine newly named craters host such deposits", says Nancy Chabbot, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland, United States, and she states that "MESSENGER team members and collaborators who are researching this area contributed the proposed names".  Additional information on Tolkien Crater can be found in the Planetary Names site.




Besides Tolkien, the other eight artists who have their names on Mercury's craters, are: Antonio Gaudí (Catalonian Architect), Titos Petronius (Roman courtier, author of the Satyricon), Uzo Egenu (Nigerian painter), Wassily Kandinsky (Russian painter), Sergei Prokofiev (Russian composer and pianist), Nina Tryggvadóttir (Icelandic artist), Shifu Qiu Ying (Chinese painter) and Eiji Yoshikawa (Japanese novelist).

Regarding why the craters are named after famous artists, the original press release tells us: "These latest names for major craters on Mercury are important for two reasons," adds MESSENGER Principal Investigator Sean Solomon of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. "The first is that formal names make it easier to communicate scientific findings about specific regions and features. The second, equally important reason is that these designations expand the opportunities to recognize the contributions to the arts by the most creative individuals from many cultures and eras. The names of those individuals are now linked in perpetuity to the innermost planet." 

Just let me remind you Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, so according to Kepler's Third Law, it's the planet with shortest year, hence its name!

But Tolkien's crater isn't the only object outside our Earth that's Middle-earth related!! 

Two Main-belt asteroids (asteroids with orbital elements constrained by 2.0 AU < a < 3.2 AU; q > 1.666 AU, where a is Semi-major axis and q is the Perihelion distance, and AU is an Astronomical Unit, the mean distance from the Earth to the Sun, around 149,60 x 10 ^ 9 m ), discovered April 14th, 1982 by M. Watt at the Anderson Mesa station  in Lowell Observatory, Arizona, were named after the author himself and one of the most beloved characters of his stories:


  • Asteroid 2675 was named Tolkien. It has an absolute magnitude of 12.5 and a perihelion distance of 1.99 UA. The JPL site has more specific information regarding this asteroid.
  • Asteroid 2991: was named BilboIt has an absolute magnitude of 13.5 and a perihelion distance of 1.83 UA. You can also find more specific information about Mr. Baggins' asteroid in the JPL site.
Finally, galaxy NGC 4151 is dubbed The Eye of Sauron because of it's resemblance to Sauron's evil eye. 43 million light years away, it's located in the in the Canes Venatici (Hunting Dogs) constellation, and it was first observed in March 27-29 2008. 

Quoting from NASA's website: "In the "pupil" of the eye, X-rays (blue) from the Chandra X-ray Observatory are combined with optical data (yellow) showing positively charged hydrogen ("H II") from observations with the 1-meter Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope on La Palma. The red around the pupil shows neutral hydrogen detected by radio observations with the NSF's Very Large Array. This neutral hydrogen is part of a structure near the center of NGC 4151 that has been distorted by gravitational interactions with the rest of the galaxy, and includes material falling towards the center of the galaxy. The yellow blobs around the red ellipse are regions where star formation has recently occurred."

More information regarding this galaxy can be found at the telescope Chandra's website.

So as you see,  not only pubs, restaurants or even streets are named after the Professor's works, but astronomical objects as well!  

01 November 2012

If you fly to New Zealand....

New Zealand has reached a new level of awesomeness. This is the most amazing video I've seen in a long time. 

Air New Zealand: I bow to you!


15 September 2012

35 years ago: "The Silmarillion" first published

September 15th, 1977, is a date Tolkien fans shoud never forget. Thirty-five years ago, the greatest set of stories ever written was first published: The Silmarillion. 

We must be very grateful with Christopher Tolkien, who edited J. R. R. Tolkien's writings and was responsible of the publication of the book itself. Without him, wonderful stories about the Valar, the Wars against Morgoth, Túrin, Eärendil, Fëanor, and of course, Beren and Lúthien, among many many other great characters, would never have been known.

It was Tolkien's first novel about Middle-earth, it's very first drafts were published in the also extremely interesting The Book of Lost Tales. 

A brief description of the book and its history I give from tolkienlibrary.com:


"The Silmarillion combines five parts:

1. The Ainulindalë - the creation of Eä, Tolkien's universe.
2. The Valaquenta - a description of the Valar and Maiar
3. The Quenta Silmarillion - the history of the events before and during the First Age
4. The Akallabêth - the history of the Second Age
5. Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

These five parts, in origin separate works, were put together as this is how J.R.R.Tolkien would have liked it.

Development of the text

The earliest drafts of The Silmarillion stories date back to as early as 1917, when Tolkien, a British officer stationed in France during World War I was laid up in a military field hospital with trench fever. At the time, he called his collection of nascent stories The Book of Lost Tales. After the war, he tried to publish some of his stories, however many editors rejected him, regarding his work as "fairy tale" unsuitable for adult readership. He tried once more, having already published The Hobbit in 1937; however that time too, The Silmarillion was deemed too complicated. Tolkien was asked to write a sequel to The Hobbit which would become his significant novel The Lord of the Rings.

But Tolkien never abandoned his book. He regarded The Silmarillion as the most important of his work, seeing in its tales not only the genesis of Middle-earth and later events as told in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but the entire core of his legendarium. He continued to work on them over the next several decades, revising and reworking his ideas, right up until his death in 1973.

After Tolkien's death

For several years after his father's death, Christopher Tolkien worked through the mass of papers written by his father creating a coherent, consistent and chronologically accurate whole. On some of the later parts of the "Quenta Silmarillion" which were in the roughest state, he worked with fantasy author Guy Gavriel Kay to construct a narrative practically from nothing. The final result, which included genealogies, maps, an index and the first-ever published Elvish word list was published in 1977."


This is the first edition of The Silmarillion, published September 15th, 1977 in the United Kingdom by Allen and Unwin. How beautiful. :)


Definitely, without this masterpiece our lives definitely wouldn't be the same. Thank you, Tolkien, father 
and son.

22 July 2012

Christopher Tolkien's interview to "Le Monde"


On July 9th, the french newspaper "Le Monde" published an interview with Christopher Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien's son and literary executor of the Tolkien Estate. The original article was written by Raphaëlle Rérolle and is here. I originally read the interview in quenya101.com. The interview is so important it's essential I publish it here. Be sure to read it (I warn you: it's long). It's a great opportunity to learn about Christopher Tolkien's thoughts regarding the work of his father and about Peter Jackson's movies. Enjoy.

"It’s a rare, if not exceptional case. In an era where most people would sell their souls to be talked about, Christopher Tolkien has not expressed himself in the media for forty years. No interviews, no announcements, no meetings– nothing. A decision he made at the death of his father, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973), British author of the hugely famous Lord of the Rings (three volumes published in 1954 and 1955), and of the world’s most-read writers, with about 150 million books sold and translations into 60 languages.
A whim? Certainly not. The 87-year-old son of Tolkien is the calmest man imaginable. A distinguished Englishman with a very upper class [in English in the original] accent, who settled in the south of France in 1975 with his wife Baillie and their two children. Is it because he doesn’t care? Even less likely. During all these years of silence, his life has been one of incessant, driven, almost Herculean work on the unpublished part of the oeuvre, whose literary executor he is.
A sort of parallel universe around the work
No, Christopher Tolkien’s proud reserve has another cause: the enormous gap, almost an abyss, which has been created between his father’s writings and their commercial descendants, in which he does not recognize the work, especially since New Zealand film-maker Peter Jackson made Lord of the Rings, three phenomenally successful films, between 2001 and 2003. With the years, a sort of parallel universe has formed around Tolkien’s work, a world of sparkling images and of figurines, colored by the original books of the cult, but often very different from them, like a continent that has drifted far from its original land mass.
This commercial galaxy is now worth several billion dollars, of which most does not go to Tolkien’s heirs, and this complicates the management of his heritage for his family, which is polarized not over the images or objects, but over the respect for Tolkien’s words. Through a curious parallel, the situation recalls the plot of Lord of the Rings, where everything starts with an inherited problem: Frodo Baggins, the hero, receives from the aging hero Bilbo the famous magic ring whose possession attracts envy from every quarter and provokes evil.
Today, a few months before the December 12th release of a new Peter Jackson film, this time inspired by The Hobbit (published 1937), the Tolkiens are getting ready to deal with solicitations of every kind and with new excrescences of the work. “We will have to put up the barricades,” announces Baillie with a smile.
“Intellectual Despair”
Before that, however, and in a unique way, Christopher Tolkien agreed to speak with Le Monde about this legacy, a patrimony which has been his life’s work, but which has also become the source of a certain “intellectual despair.” For the posterity of J.R.R. Tolkien is both the story of an extraordinary literary transmission from a father to a son, and the story of a misunderstanding. The most well-known works, the ones that have hidden the rest, were only an epiphenomenon in the eyes of their author. A tiny corner of Tolkien’s vast world, which he even gave up, at least in part. In 1969, the writer sold the movie rights and rights for derived products for The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings to United Artists for 100,000 pounds sterling, a considerable sum at the time, but paltry when the current value is considered.
This amount was meant to allow the writer’s children to pay their future inheritance taxes. Tolkien did it early because these taxes were very high under the Labour government of England of that time. He also feared that changes in American copyright laws would hurt his children’s rights. But Lord of the Rings had immediately become a meteoric success, especially in the United States.
Except for Oxford, where his colleagues’ criticisms affected the writer a great deal, the enthusiasm was general. “The Tolkien craze was much like that around Harry Potter,” notes Vincent Ferré, professor at the University of Paris XIII, who has directed the publication of a Tolkien Dictionary [in French] which will appear in the autumn. From the 1960s onward, The Lord of the Rings became a symbol of the counter-culture, in particular in the United States. “The story of a group of people rebelling against oppression, in a background of fantasy, serves as a standard for leftist militants, notably at Berkeley, in California.”
At the time of the war in Vietnam, slogans such as “Gandalf for President” (after the old wizard in the novel) or “Frodo lives!” A sign that the legend dies hard: during the second Iraq war, satiric stickers were printed that said “Frodo failed. Bush has the ring.”
A Retreat in France
But besides The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, Tolkien published very little during his lifetime, certainly nothing to match the success of his two best-sellers. When he died in 1973, a gigantic share of his work remained unpublished. For The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings are only episodes in an imaginary history going on for millennia. Christopher Tolkien undertook to bring this partly fragmented mythology to light, in a very unusual way. Rather than contenting himself with the books already published, he went to work on something that became a true passion for him, as becomes evident when he speaks of it: a labor of literary disinterment.
He receives the reporter with disarming kindness in his own house, in the midst of pines and olive trees. It is better hidden than a hobbit hole, and not an easy spot to find. You will need a robust car that is high enough. At the right distance from the village, take a long ochre dirt road, then go through the high trees before you see a pink house between two dips. The bastide stands among wildflowers, ravishingly pretty and without any of those signs that mean large fortunes. A calm, timeless atmosphere reigns here, exactly in the image of its occupants.
The man who lives here is the third of J.R.R. Tolkien’s four children, and with his sister Priscilla, the last survivor. Christopher is the executor for his father’s will and the general director of the Tolkien Estate, the English enterprise that manages the estate and distributes the rights from copyright to the heirs: Priscilla and Christopher, six grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren of J.R.R. Tolkien. The Estate company is of modest size, with only three employees, one of whom is Christopher and Baillie’s son Adam, and is assisted in Oxford by a law office. It also includes a charity branch, theTolkien Trust, which is mainly concerned with educational and humanitarian projects.
But it is from his French retreat that Christopher Tolkien has been working on the books and answering solicitations. The interior is simple and warm, with books and rugs, comfortable armchairs, and family photos. In one of them is J.R.R. Tolkien, his two older sons, his wife, and a little baby named Christopher in his mother’s arms. From the beginning, no doubt, he was the most receptive audience for his father’s work; and the most upset, later, by its evolution.
An Extraordinary Imagination
The misunderstanding started with The Hobbit, in the middle of the 1930s. Until then, Tolkien had published only a renowned essay on Beowulf, the great epic poem, peopled with monsters, written in the Middle Ages. His fiction, begun during the First World War, remained invisible. Tolkien was a brilliant linguist, a specialist in Old English, a professor at Oxford and endowed with an extraordinary imagination. His passion was for languages, and he had invented several of them, then built a world to shelter them. By “world” is meant not only stories, but history, geography, customs, in short an entire universe which would serve as a background for his tales.
In 1937, as soon as it was published, The Hobbit immediately became a critical and popular success, to the point where its then publisher, Allen and Unwin, demanded a sequel urgently. Tolkien, though, did not wish to continue in the same vein. On the other hand, he had almost finished a narrative of the most ancient times of his universe, which he called The Silmarillion. Too difficult, decreed the publisher, who continued to harass him. The writer, a bit half-heartedly, accepted the project of writing a new story. In fact, he was about to set in place the first stone of what would become The Lord of the Rings.
But he did not forget about The Silmarillion, nor did his son. Christopher Tolkien’s oldest memories were attached to the story of the beginnings, which his father would share with the children. “As strange as it may seem, I grew up in the world he created,” he explains. “For me, the cities of The Silmarillion are more real than Babylon.”
On a shelf in the living room, not far from the handsome wooden armchair in which Tolkien wrote Lord of the Rings, there is a small footstool covered in worn needlepoint. This is where Christopher sat, age 6 or 7, to listen to his father’s stories. “My father could not afford to pay a secretary,” he says. “I was the one who typed and drew the maps after he did the sketches.”
Little by little, starting in the late 1930s, The Lord of the Rings took shape. Enlisted in the Royal Air Force, Christopher left in 1943 for a South African air base, where every week he received a long letter from his father, as well as the episodes of the novel that was under way. “I was a fighter pilot. When I landed, I would read a chapter,” he says, amused, showing a letter in which his father asks his advice on the formation of a proper noun.
The first thing he remembers feeling after the death of his father was a sense of heavy responsibility. In the last years of his life, Tolkien had started again on The Silmarillion, trying in vain to bring some order to the narrative, as the writing of Lord of the Rings, which borrowed elements from the earlier mythology, had caused some anachronisms and discrepancies in The Silmarillion. “Tolkien could not do it,” Baillie notes. For a time she had worked as the writer’s assistant, and later edited one of his collections, called The Father Christmas Letters. “He was bogged down in chronological details, he rewrote everything, it became more and more complicated.” Between father and son, it was understood that Christopher would take up the task if the writer died without having finished.
A Nearly Drowned Archipelago
He also received his father’s papers after the death: 70 boxes of archives, each stuffed with thousands of unpublished pages. Narratives, tales, lectures, poems of 4000 more or less complete lines, letters and more letters, all in a frightening disorder. Almost nothing was dated or numbered, just stuffed higgledy-piggledy into the boxes.
“He had the habit of traveling between Oxford and Bournemouth, where he often stayed,” Baillie Tolkien recounts. “WHen he left, he would put armfuls of papers into a suitcase which he always kept with him. When he arrived, he would sometimes pull out any sheet at random and start with that one!” On top of all this, the handwritten manuscripts were almost indecipherable because his handwriting was so cramped.
However, in this unlikely jumble, there was a treasure, not only The Silmarillion, but very complete versions of all sorts of legends only just glimpsed in The Hobbit andLord of the Rings– an almost submerged archipelago, of whose existence Christopher had been partly unaware. It was then that the work began a second life… and so did Christopher. He resigned from New College at Oxford, where he had in his own turn become professor of Old English, and he threw himself into editing his father’s work. He left the university with no regrets, going so far (at the memory, his eyes sparkle) as to throw into the bushes the key each professor received, which was supposed to be exhibited at the end of the year in a ritual ceremony.
First in England, then in France, he reassembled the parts of The Silmarillion, made the whole more coherent, added padding here and there, and published the book in 1977, with some remorse. “Right away I thought that the book was good, but a little false, in the sense that I had had to invent some passages,” he explains. At the time, he even had a disagreeable dream. “I was in my father’s office at Oxford. He came in and started looking for something in great anxiety. Then I realized in horror that it was The Silmarillion, and I was terrified at the thought that he would discover what I had done.”
Meanwhile, most of the manuscripts which he had brought to France, piled in the back of his car, had to go back to Oxford. At the request of the rest of the family, nervous at this migration, the papers went back the way they had come, to the Bodleian Library, where they are currently kept and are being digitized. Therefore Christopher had to undertake his work with photocopies, which was a great deal of trouble. It was impossible, for example, to go by the ink color or the texture of the paper when trying to date the documents. “But I had his voice in my ear,” says Christopher Tolkien. This time, he would become, he says, “the historian of the work, its interpreter.”
Part of the Western World’s Mental Furniture
For eighteen years, he worked full speed on The History of Middle-Earth, the gigantic 12-volume edition that traces the evolution of Tolkien’s world. “During all that time, I watched him type with three fingers on an old machine that had belonged to his father,” observes his wife. “You could hear it all the way down the street!” It was a literary gold mine, but also a painstaking job and left Christopher exhausted, not to say depressed. But never mind, he would not stop there. In 2007, he published The Children of Húrin, a posthumous Tolkien novel recomposed from works that had appeared here and there. It sold 500,000 copies in English and has been translated into 20 languages.
As this new literary geography rose from his old typewriter, Tolkien’s universe also proliferated in the outside world, completely independently. After Tolkien’s death, the power of his imagination soon gave birth to new works, sometimes turbulent. “The flexibility of these books explains their success,” remarks Vincent Ferré. “It is an oeuvre that creates a world, where readers can enter and become actors in their own turn.”
The writer’s influence in the literary domain was first felt in fantasy, where his creations had reactivated a genre that dated to the 19th century. Beginning in the 1970s and especially 1980s, a heroic fantasy genre developed, steeped in Tolkienism, with legendary backgrounds, elves and dragons, magic and struggle against the powers of evil. His world, “like that of the Grimms’ fairy tales of the previous century, has become part of the mental furniture of the western world,” writes Englishman Thomas Alan Shippey in an essay [not translated] dedicated to Tolkien.
In France and other countries, many publishers have invested in this particularly lucrative market. More than four million books were sold in 2008 alone. Among other sagas that came out during the 1970s were The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (1977) by Stephen R. Donaldson.
First in the United States, then throughout Europe and even in Asia, the genre became an enormous industry, soon including comic books, role-playing games, video games, films, and even music, with progressive rock. In the 2000s, “fan fiction” arrived on the internet, each contributor peopling Tolkien’s world in his or her own way. The Lord of the Rings metamorphosed into a sort of autonomous entity, living its own life. For example, it inspired George Lucas, author of the series Star Wars, whose first film came out in 1977. Or the rock group Led Zeppelin, who incorporated references to the book in several songs, including “The Battle of Evermore.”
But none of this bothered the family until Peter Jackson’s films. It was the release of the first film of the trilogy, in 2001, that changed the nature of things. First, it had a prodigious effect on book sales. “In three years, from 2001 to 2003, 25 million copies ofLord of the Rings were sold– 15 million in English and 10 million in other languages. In the United Kingdom, sales went up by 1000% after the release of the first movie in the trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring,” says David Brawn, Tolkien’s publisher at HarperCollins, which retains the English-speaking rights except for the United States.
A Contagion Effect
Rather quickly, however, the film’s vision, conceived in New Zealand by well-known illustrators Alan Lee and John Howe, threatened to engulf the literary work. Their iconography inspires most of the video games and merchandising. Soon, by a contagion effect, the book itself because less of a source of inspiration for the authors of fantasy than the film of the book, then the games inspired by the film, and so on.
The frenzy pushed the Tolkien family’s lawyers to take another look at their contract, which stipulated that the Tolkien Estate must receive a percentage of the profits if the films were profitable. With the incredible box office, the lawyers for the family shook the dust off the contract and demanded their share of the pie from New Line, the American producer of the films, who had bought the movie rights for Lord of the Ringsand The Hobbit. And surprise! Cathleen Blackburn, lawyer for the Tolkien Estate in Oxford, recounts ironically, “These hugely popular films apparently did not make any profit! We were receiving statements saying that the producers did not owe the Tolkien Estate a dime.”
The affair lasted from 2003 to 2006, and then things became more poisonous. The lawyers for the Tolkien Estate, those of the Tolkien Trust, and Tolkien’s publisher HarperCollins demanded 150 million dollars in damages, as well as observers’ rights on the next adaptations of Tolkien’s work. A lawsuit was necessary before agreement was reached in 2009. The producers paid 7.5 % of their profits to the Tolkien Estate, but the lawyer, who refuses to give a number, adds that “it is too early to say how much that will be in the future.”
However, the Tolkien Estate cannot do anything about the way New Line adapts the books. In the future Hobbit movie, for example, the audience will discover characters Tolkien never put in, especially women. The same is true for the merchandise, which ranges from tea towels to boxes of nuggets, with an infinite variety of toys, stationery, t-shirts, games, etc. Not only the titles of the books themselves, but also the names of their characters have been copyrighted.
“We are in the back of the car,” Cathleen Blackburn comments. In other words, there is nothing to be done but look at the scenery, except in extreme cases– for example, preventing the use of the name Lord of the Rings on Las Vegas slot machines, or for amusement parks. “We were able to prove that nothing in the original contract dealt with that sort of exploitation.”
“Philosophical Impact Reduced to Nothing”
“I could write a book on the idiotic requests I have received,” sighs Christopher Tolkien. He is trying to protect the literary work from the three-ring circus that has developed around it. In general, the Tolkien Estate refuses almost all requests. “Normally,” explains Adam Tolkien, “the executors of the estate want to promote a work as much as they can. But we are just the opposite. We want to put the spotlight on what is not Lord of the Rings.”
The Tolkien Estate was not able to prevent an American cartoon called Lord of the Beans, but its comic-strip version was stopped. This policy, however, has not protected the family from the reality that the work now belongs to a gigantic audience, culturally far removed from the writer who conceived it. Invited to meet Peter Jackson, the Tolkien family preferred not to. Why? “They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people 15 to 25,” Christopher says regretfully. “And it seems that The Hobbit will be the same kind of film.”
The divorce is systematically reactivated by the movies. “Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and absorbed by the absurdity of our time,” Christopher Tolkien observes sadly. “The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has gone too far for me. Such commercialisation has reduced the esthetic and philosophical impact of this creation to nothing. There is only one solution for me: turning my head away.”
It is hard to say who has won this silent battle between the respect for the word and popularity. Nor who, finally, has the Ring. One thing is certain. From father to son, a great part of the work of J.R.R. Tolkien has now come out of its boxes, thanks to the infinite perseverance of his son."

15 July 2012

The Ring Verse ... in 59 languages!

Some months ago, I had the great of idea of translating the Ring Verse in most number of languages possible. For this I started to ask some friends to translate the Verse of the Rings in their native tongue. After a few days, I thought that maybe someone had had this idea already, so when I did a search on the web, I came upon several sites that offer many translations! 

The first one I discovered was Elrond's Library, a site of a Tolkien collectionist, Yvan Strelzyk. His site offers translations of this verse into 49 languages, and sometimes with different versions of the same language. Most jpg files in this post are from his site, don't hesitate checking it! I will cite translations from this webpage as EL.

Another site with many translations is a polish site, http://www.lodz.tpsa.pl/bez/Tolkien/vers-eng.html, Gwidon S. Naskrent is the author of that article. It has the Verse in 33 languages, some of which don't appear in the Elrond's Library site, including Sindarin. I will cite translations from this webpage as GN.

Regarding Quenya translations, I found two:the Elvish.org one (EV), translated by Maciej Garbowski, and the one of Ambar Eldaron (AE). Elvish.org also has a different Sindarin version given by Ryszard Derdzinski.  

Finally, before I post them all, I also found two Old English translations: the one by Freya Harrison (FH) and the one by Carl Anderson (CA). 

Edit: recently I have added translations in four new languages: Tagalog, Quechua, Delang and Slovak, and additional translations in Frisian and Russian.


Edit: 21/2/2015: Today I have added Modern Gaulish thanks to Steven Hansen. Be sure to check his Modern Gaulish site: http://www.moderngaulish.com/

So here you have the Ring Verse in 59 languages:


Albanian (EL):



























Arabic (EL):




























Armenian (EL):



























Basque (EL):






















Belarussian (EL):
























Bengali (EL): 
























Bulgarian (EL):
























Catalan (EL):
























Chinese (EL):
























Chinese (Taiwan): 
























Croatian (EL):




























Czech (EL):
























Danish (EL):






















Delang 

thanks to Koppa Dasao for providing the translation. In case you don't know what Delang is, you can read this wiki article

Тłікелтсҩ ҩнј δеѕељѡе, Рҩј ѕип δеѕнибі
Земкелтсҩ ҩнј δеѕƕомі мін, Рҩј ѕип δеѕмҩнс
Јаткелтсҩ ҩнј δеѕƕомі ај Мор ѕиврі
Анкелтсҩ ҩнј δерҩј нyь ҩнМҩрδҩр ҩні
ін δетелј ƕҩłи δенyьт політіьі.
Анкелтсҩ ƕамас політіьі, анкелтсҩ ƕамас гłомеѕтіљі
анкелтсҩ ƕамас ҩнј Мҩрδҩр гемтłені і о Нyьт ƕамас ѕтłіњі
ін δетелј ƕҩłи δенyьт політіьі.

Dutch (EL):
























Esperanto (GN):

Tri ringoj por la elfo-regoj, sub la chielo; 
Sep por la dvarvo-moshtoj, en haloj de shton'. 
Nau por hom' mortema, kondamnita de mortpelo; 
Unu por Malluma Moshto, sur Malluma Tron', 
En la lando Mordor, tenebra pro malhelo. 
Unu Ring' por regi chiujn, unu por venigi, 
Unu por sklavigi kaj mallume enchenigi, 
En la lando Mordor, tenebra pro malhelo.

Estonian (EL):
























Faroese (EL):
























Finnish (GN):

Kolme sormusta haltiakuninkaille alla auringon,
seitsemän kääpiöruhtinaille kivisaleissaan,
yhdeksän ihmisille jotka vie tuoni armoton,
yksi Mustalle Ruhtinaalle valtaistuimellaan
maassa Mordorin joka varjojen saartama on.
Yksi sormus löytää heidät, se yksi heitä hallitsee,
se yksi heidät yöhön syöksee ja pimeyteen kahlitsee
maassa Mordorin joka varjojen saartama on.

French (GN):

Trois Anneaux pour les Rois d'Elfes sous le ciel d'azure,
Sept pour les Seigneurs Naîns dans leurs demeures de pierre,
Neuf pour les Hommes mortels destinés au trepas,
Un pour le Seigneur des Tenèbres sur son sombre trone,
Dans le pays de Mordor ou s'étendent les ombres.
Un Anneau pour les gouverner tous, un Anneau pour les trouver,
Un Anneau pour les amener tous et dans les tenèbres les lier
Au pays de Mordor ou s'étendent les Ombres.

Frisian (EL):






















Thanks to Mithrennaith for pointing out this is the official translation by Liuwe H. Westra of FotR, and by providing an older translation by Douwe Tamminga, published in Lembas #13, Journal of Tolkien Society Unquendor in the Netherlands:

Trije Ringen foar de Alve-kenings, wolk-dutsen en heech-eal.
Sân foar it Ierdmans-folk yn harren stiennen seal.
Njoggen foar Stjerlingen, ta de dea ferwiisd.
Ien foar de Foarst, dêr ’t syn dûnkere troane riist
 yn Mordor, oerskade en feal.
Ien Ring ta regear, ien Ring om eltsien te finen,
Ien Ring om te bringen, ien om by tsjuster te elts te binen
 oan Mordor, oerskade en feal.



Gaelic (Irish) (GN):

Trí fháinne do ríthe na síogaithe thuas sa spéir,
seacht gcinn do tiarnaí na n-abhac ina gcuid hallaí cloiche,
naoi gcinn do dhaoine básmhaire atá faoi cháineadh an éag.
Fáinne amháin don tiarna dubh ar a ríchathaoir dhubh
i dtír Mordor a bhfagraíonn na scáileanna.
Fáinne amháin len iad a rialú,
fáinne amháin len iad a fháil,
fáinne amháin len iad a thabhairt,
fáinne amháin len iad a cheangal sa dorchadas
i dtír Mordor a bhfagraíonn na scáileanna.


Galician (EL):
























Gaulish (Modern) 

thanks to Steve Hansen, from http://www.moderngaulish.com/:

Tri anévis ri Rhiché in Dhonwathé gwó in nem
séith ri Dierné Coru en só déimár hachaunach
ná ri dhoné anvitháiach durathwíthu a warwi
on ri'n Tiern Dumn gwer ó harsel dumn
en Dír Mordhor pémái lía in 'cáthé
on anévis a chwáli ol uchís, on anévis a húri ichís
on anévis a hácha ol uchís ach a lhichi ichís en dhuvachas
en Dír Mordhor pémái lía in 'cáthé.


Georgian (EL):
























German (GN):

Drei Ringe den Elbenkönigen hoch im Licht,
Sieben den Zwergenherrschern in ihren Hallen aus Stein,
Den Sterblichen, ewig dem Tode verfallen, neun,
Einer dem Dunklen Herrn auf dunklem Thron
Im Lande Mordor, wo die Schatten drohn.
Ein Ring, sie zu knechten, sie alle zu finden,
Ins Dunkel zu treiben und ewig zu binden
Im Lande Mordor, wo die Schatten drohn. 


Gothic (GN):

Thrija figgragultha faur thans albiska-thiudanans undar thana himin;
Sibun faur thans dwairga-fraujans in rohsnim seinaim stainahaim;
Niun faur mannans diwanans, domidans diwan;
Ain faur thana fraujan riqizeinan ana stola riqizeinamma seinamma,
In thamma landa Maurdauris tharei thai skadjus ligand.
Ain figgragulth waldan ija alla, ain figgragulth finthan ija,
Ain figgragulth briggan ija alla jah in riqiza bindan ija.
In thamma landa Maurdauris tharei thai skadjus ligand.



Greek (EL):
























Hebrew (EL):
























Hungarian (EL):
























Icelandic (EL):
























Indonesian (EL):
























Italian (GN):

Tre Anelli ai re degli Elfi sotto il cielo che risplende,
Sette ai Principi dei Nani nelle loro rocche di pietra
Nove agli Uomini Mortali che la triste morte attende,
Uno per l'Oscuro Sire chiuso nella reggia tetra
Nella Terra di Mordor, dove l'Ombra nera scende.
Un Anello per domarli, Un anello per trovarli,
Un Anello per ghermirli e nel buio incatenarli,
Nella Terra di Mordor, dove l'Ombra cupa scende.


Japanese (EL):






















Latin (GN):

Tres anellorum sub diuo regibus altis,
effossas septem dominis habitantibus aulas,
et nouem eis quorum fatumst occumbere mortem,
unicus autem Atro Domino, qui in sede resurget
Mordore terra illa, qua sunt caliginis umbrae.
Unus qui moderetur eis, et qui appetat omnis,
et qui ad sese adducat eos tenebrisque capistret
Mordore terra illa, qua sunt caliginis umbrae.



Latvian (EL):

















Lithuanian (EL):
















Macedonian (EL):





















Norwegian (EL):


























Old English (version 1) (CA):

Hringas þríe       þéodnum Ælfa,
allra ældestum,     ofer eormengrunde.
Hringas seofun     innan sele stænnum 
Dwergdryhtnum.     Derc heara hús.
Hringas nigon     néote Moncynn,
hláfordas méra     mégas déaðfæge.
Heolstres Hearra     hring ánne weardað
in dryhtsele dimmum     on dercan þrymmsetle
þér licgað scedwa     in londe Mordores.
Hring án gewalde,     hring án gefinde,
hring án gebringe,     hring án gebinde
þéoda swá þéowas     in þéostrum tógedere
þér licgað scedwa     in londe Mordores.

Notemug has uploaded a video reading this version of the verse!

Old English (version 2) (FH):

þrie hringa cyngum ælfcynnes heaum
in middangeardes grenholtum heanes to hrofe
seofon sincgiefum dweorgas of dunum
seo foldesbreost forhelest symbelhus stænen
nigon manndryhtnum guðweardum gumcynnes
wyrd sceol gescieran læne lif of licum
ond an thaem deorcan on his sweartan stole
in westnese mordores fæste forbræded
an hring ælce to wealdanne ælce to findenne
an hring ælce to bringenne þeowas in þeostre
in westnesse mordores fæste forbræded.




Persian (EL):






















Polish (GN):

Trzy Pierścienie dla królów Elfów pod otwartym niebem,
Siedem dla władców krasnali w ich kamiennych pałacach,
Dziewięć dla śmiertelników, ludzi śmierci podległych,
Jeden dla Władcy Ciemności na czarnym tronie
W krainie Mordor, gdzie zaległy cienie,
Jeden, by wszystkimi rządzić, Jeden, by wszystkie odnaleźć,
Jeden, by wszystkie zgromadzić i w ciemności związać
W krainie Mordor, gdzie zaległy cienie.


Portuguese (GN):

Três anéis para os Reis-Elfos sob este céu,
Sete para os Senhores-Anoes em seus rochosos corredores,
Nove para Homens Mortais, fadados ao eterno sono,
Um para o Senhor do Escuro em seu escuro trono
Na Terra de Mordor onde as Sombras se deitam.
Um Anel para a todos governar, Um Anel para encontrá-los,
Um Anel para a todos trazer e na escuridao aprisioná-los
Na Terra de Mordor onde as Sombras se deitam.


Quechua 

(thanks to Larry Oruro for the translation, and to my friend Andrea for providing the contact):

Kinsa siwikuna hanaqpacha ukhupi Elfo Inkakunapaq.
Qanchis rumi pukarakunapi Huch’uy Wiraquchakunapaq.
Isqun wañuyman qinchasqa Wañuq Runakunapaq.
Huk Yana ch’umpi Wiraquchapaq, tutayaq pukara patapi
haqay llanthuq kamaynin Mordor Llaqtapi.
Huk siwi llapanku kamachinapaq. Huk siwi llapanku tarinapaq.
Huk siwi llapanku qayllachimunapaq hinasqa tutaman watarunapaq.
Haqay llanthuq kamaynin Mordor Llaqtapi.


Quenya version 1 (EV):


Neldë Cormar Eldaron Aranen nu i vilya,
   Otso Heruin Naucoron ondeva mardentassen,
Nertë Firimë Nérin yar i Nuron martyar,
   Minë i Morë Herun mormahalmaryassë
Mornórëo Nóressë yassë i Fuini caitar.
   Minë Corma turië të ilyë, Minë Corma hirië të,
   Minë Corma hostië të ilyë ar mordossë nutië të
Mornórëo Nóressë yassë i Fuini caitar.

Tengwar transcription:


Quenya version 2 (AE):

Neldë cormar Aranin Eldaron nu Menel
Otso Herurin Naucoron martamenta ondovassë
Nertë Atanin martainë qualmen
Minë Morë Herun morë mahalmaryassë
Nóressë Mordoro yassë caitar i Lómini
Minë corma an turë ilyë
Minë corma an hirë të ilyë
Minë corma an tulë të ilyë
Ar morniessë nutë të
Nóressë Mordoro yassë caitar i Lómini.


Arkxyz has uploaded a video of she reading the poem, be sure to listen to it!



Romanian (EL):



Russian (EL):
Dave Doughan, in the Tolkien Society facebook page, shared this link with more than 30 Russian translations:




Serbian (EL):

Sindarin (version 1) (EV):

Glîr i Chyrf e-Ndur

Corf neledh 'nin Ellerain nui venel,
Odo'ni Nauhírath vi rynd gonui în,
Neder'ni Fîr Fírib beraid fíred,
Êr am Morchír bo morn-orchamm dîn
Vi Dor e-Mordor ias i-Ndúath caedar.
Er-chorf a thorthad hain bain, Er-chorf a chired hain,
Er-chorf a thoged hain bain a din fuin an nuded hain
Vi Dor e-Mordor ias i-Ndúath caedar.

Sindarin (version 2) (GN):

Neledh Côr 'nin Edhelaranath nui venel,
Odog a Ngonhirrim ned gonthamath în,
Neder an Firiath, beraid gwanno,
Min a Chirdhur or dhurvachalf în,
Ned Mordor nedhi gaenar i ngwaith.
Min Côr a thorthad hain phain, Min Côr a chiriad hain,
Min Côr a theged hain a nedhi vorn gweded hain
Ned Mordor nedhi gaenar i ngwaith.


Slovak (thanks to Thalen, who provided this translation via comments):

Tri prstene elfským kráľom vonku pod nebom,
Sedem pánom trpaslíkov v sieňach z kameňa,
Deväť mužom z ľudí, ktorých osudom je skon,
Veľprsteň pre Pána tmy na tróne z plameňa,
V zemi Mordor, kde tieň vládne zlom.

Veľprsten im všetkým velí, jeho ruka krutá
Privolá ich do jedného a v čiernej tme spúta
V zemi Mordor, kde tieň vládne zlom.

Slovenian (EL):
Spanish (GN):

Tres anillos para los Reyes Elfos bajo el cielo. 
Siete para los Señores Enanos en palacios de piedra. 
Nueve para los Hombres Mortales condenados a morir. 
Uno para el Señor Oscuro, sobre el trono oscuro 
en la Tierra de Mordor donde se extienden las Sombras. 
Un Anillo para gobernarlos a todos. Un Anillo para encontrarlos.
Un Anillo para atraerlos a todos y atarlos en las tinieblas.
En la Tierra de Mordor donde se extienden las Sombras.

Swedish (GN):

Tre ringar för älvkonungarnas makt högt i det blå, 
sju för dvärgarnas furstar i salarna av sten, 
nio för de dödliga, som köttets väg skall gå, 
en för Mörkrets herre i ondskans dunkla sken 
i Mordorlandets hisnande gruva. 
En ring att sämja dem, 
en ring att främja dem, 
en ring att djupt i mörkrets 
vida riken tämja dem - 
i Mordors land, där skuggorna ruva.

Tagalog 

(thanks to Erick A. Fabian):

Tatlong Singsing para sa mga haring Elbenyo sa ilalim ng kalangitan
Pito nito para sa mga Duwendeng panginoon sa kanilang mga bulwagang bato
Siyam para sa mga Taong Mortal, na nakatadhanang mamatay
Isa para sa Hari ng Kadiliman sa kanyang maitim na trono
Doon sa lupalop ng Mordor na kinapupugaran ng mga anino
Isang Singsing na mamumuno sa kanilang lahat,
Isang Singsing na hahanap sa kanila,
Isang Singsing upang sila'y ipagsasama-sama
At igapos silang lahat sa Kadiliman
Doon sa lupalop ng Mordor na kinapupugaran ng mga anino.




Thai (EL):

Turkish (EL):
Ukranian (EL):
Valencian (GN):

Tres Anells per als Reixos Elfos baix el Cel,
Set per els Senyors Enanos als palaus de pedra,
Nou per als Homens Mortals destinats a morir.
Un per al Senyor Fosc, al seu trono fosc,
a la Terra de Mordor, a on s'estenen les Ombres.
Un Anell per a governar-los a tots, un Anell per a trobar-los,
Un Anell per a portar-los, i nugar-los en les Tiniebles
a la terra de Mordor a on s'estenen les Ombres.


And last but not least: 

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne,
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie,
One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them,
One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.



So there you go, the Ring Verse in 57 languages! :D 

If you see a mistake or your language is missing, please contact me!