March 25th is Tolkien Reading Day, a day designated as such in connection with the fall of Sauron in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series. While not as well-known as Hobbit Day (September 22nd, also your Present Author‘s birthday), we could all use a little Tolkien right now.
For you evergreen content readers in the future, check the date on this post. What with a global quarantine lockdown to fight a pandemic, curling up with a thick tome of high fantasy is just what the proverbial doctor ordered.
The fantasy universe of JRR Tolkien has bridged several generations, being one of the few fandoms that unites The Greatest Generation, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z. Likely it will continue to fascinate future generations as well.
But the works of Tolkien are interesting for their very gradual rise to popularity, for which each generation did considerable torch-passing. The Hobbit was first published in 1937; The Lord of the Rings trilogy in 1954-1955. The first film adaptation wasn’t until Ralph Bakshi’s animated half-run in 1978. It wasn’t until the turn of the century that we got the Peter Jackson full realization we all know and (mostly) love today.
In between, no less than Harvard Lampoon published the parody Bored of the Rings in 1968, and director John Boorman opted to make a film adaptation but was denied, driving him so crazy that he made Zardoz (1974) in its place.
Instead of Peter Jackson, we could have had the first film adaptation done by the man who decided to put Sean Connery in an orange day-glo Pampers Pullup. It makes the omission of Tom Bombadil from the first trilogy seem like a trifle, doesn’t it?
Moving right along, let’s dive into some handy items to have around for you Hobbitheads to show off your fandom. And if you’re quarantining, you feel kind of like you’re living like a Hobbit already, aren’t you?
Lord of the Rings Ringwraith Statue – Free Shipping
To start out, we found this imposing RingWraith, a faceless being of fear and dread, to bring to mind the most apocalyptic atmosphere.
This Nazgul dude weighs about a pound and stands ’bout a half foot high, a substantial presence on your bookshelf, gaming den, or mantel.
If you find those twee Funko figures to be too saccharine for your tastes, this brooding Hobbit-hunter drawing his sword is bound to be your speed.
For something a little more practical, we can’t resist this common baseball cap with the Eye of Sauron emblazoned on it.
The eye design even has the text of the One Ring around it if you peeper it up close. So not only is this a fit outdoor cap to proclaim your geekery to the public even as you engage in the most mundane activities, but it’s also a great hood for gaming night.
It fits when your D&D character’s alignment is chaotic evil, or it makes a flashy distraction tactic at FNM.
The Lord of the Rings The One Ring Inscription Leather Bookmark
We did mention it’s Tolkien reading day after all, so we’d better include the one book accessory we can find for a Tolkien theme. So in between chapters, you have this handsome leather bookmark to practice reading your Tengwar.
You want to stay fluent in Tengwar just in case it comes in handy for something. Like if you’re Elijah Wood and you end up on Conan.
Lord of the Rings Pipe of Gandalf the Grey 1:1 Scale Prop Replica – Free Shipping
Even if you don’t smoke the Halfling’s leaf (you don’t suppose they meant the devil’s lettuce, do you?), this is still an attractive and homely mantelpiece to have around.
It suggests that Gandalf himself lives here and just stepped outside for a minute to consult with the moths. If you do enjoy Halfling’s or any other brand of leaf (we want what the elves smoke, TBH), this isn’t a functional pipe replica and you wouldn’t want to get it dirty anyway.
Besides, how are you going to top blowing a smoke ship through your buddy’s smoke ring?
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Simple Pleasures of the Shire Tea Towel
Sheltering at home calls for sprucing up your domestic environment. This tea towel lists the Hobbit daily dining schedule, in all its hearty festivity.
Which, if you’re working from home, certainly feels like the dining schedule you’ll be adapting to. You might even want to look up some Hobbit recipes, which are strangely absent from YouTube’s cooking channels.
I, for one, would love to see a series called “Cooking Potatoes With Samwise Gamgee.”
For one thing, it’s a nice gift for the horsey people in your life, whether they ride one, own one, or just bet on them at the track. As a banner, it’s one of the most instantly recognizable from the films.
It even gets a little dramatic role in the first trilogy, flying off the flagpole from Eowyn down to Aragorn, like a distress call he’s answering. How many banners get to tell that story?