It’s been 67 years since J. R. R. Tolkien completed The Lord of the Rings, and Middle-earth continues to exert a powerful hold on the public consciousness. Peter Jackson’s movie adaptations introduced the books to a global audience and soon Amazon will debut The Rings of Power, their hugely expensive adaptation set thousands of years before Frodo left Hobbiton on his long journey.
No doubt anticipating a bumper year for Tolkien, his official website relaunched on Feb. 26 and now boasts a wealth of previously unseen material. This holds a special significance for fans, as the same date — only this time in the fictional year of TA 3019 — marks the date when the Fellowship of the Ring fell apart and Sam and Frodo set out together for Mordor.
This relaunch proves that Tolkien was a genuine renaissance man, showing his paintings of key events and landscapes in Middle-earth, his love of languages, and his interest in calligraphy. There are also a number of particularly interesting essays from Tolkien, with his overview of the difficulties in translating Beowulf definitely worth a read.
Another fun aspect is the many recordings of Tolkien narrating passages from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. My favorites are him reciting the iconic ‘Ring Verse’ inscribed on the inside of the One Ring, and his dramatic and energetic performance of ‘The Ride of the Rohirrim’.
I’d recommend poking around the site, as what’s here provides a real insight into who Tolkien was as a person and what his interests were. Let’s hope that Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power honors his vast literary legacy.