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Front cover of Amon Hen #287
Amon Hen № 287: January, 2021
© 2021 The Tolkien Society

№ 287: January, 2021

15 January 2021

In this issue: 2 articles, 1 editorial, 8 notes, 1 review.

Editorials

Articles

Tolkien tabletop № 3

Daniel Marchant, p. 6

The release of Magic: The Gathering in 1993 introduced a whole new category of lifestyle gaming that has since been collected and played all over the world from kitchen tabletops among friends to sponsored and televised professional tournaments with substantial prize payouts. It did not take long for other game designers to recognize the success of this novel format, and a flood of customizable, collectible, and trading card games swept into the market in the 1990s and early 2000s.

The first to be licensed and explicitly based on any of Tolkien’s writings was the Middle-earth Collectible Card Game by Iron Crown Enterprises in 1995. The release of the Peter Jackson films starting in 2001 brought The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game by Decipher, based both on the films and the books. These games may be reviewed in future articles, but this time we turn to the most recent entry into the line of Tolkien-related card games. The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game was first introduced by Fantasy Flight Games in 2011 and is a cooperative game for one to four players. The game has a unique packaging and distribution model which makes it more approachable and sets it apart from previous customizable card games. The game is also highly thematic. These reasons and more set this game apart as my personal favorite among Tolkien-related games.…

On the origin of Hobbits: Part one

James P. Buchman, p. 20

In the second chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf says, “… about their origins, at any rate, I know more than hobbits do themselves” (LRC §1.02.110). But he does not share that knowledge, nor do any works within the legendarium explicitly state how the race of Hobbits came to be. This is a notable exception to the origin stories of most other sentient races which people Middle-earth. 

Elves and Men were first conceived as themes in the Music of the Ainur before the world was created, Dwarves were fashioned by Aule before even the awakening of the Elves, and given life by Illuvatar, Ents were devised by Nienna as protectors of the trees, also early in the First Age, Orcs were made by Morgoth in the First Age, in mockery of Elves; and Trolls were made about the same time, in mockery of Ents, Dragons were devised by Morgoth during the wars with the Noldor in the First Age, and the Great Eagles were enlisted early on to the service of Manwe, by whose agency they learned speech and gained intelligence.…

Notes

Walter Hooper (1931 – 2020)

Colin Duriez, p. 16

The man who served Tolkien’s great friend, C.S. Lewis described by The Independent (7 March 1994) as C.S. Lewis’ other American (the first being poet and novelist Joy Davidman), Walter Hooper was born in Reidsville, North Carolina. He was educated at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. After serving in the U.S. Army, he read Theology at Virginia Episcopal Seminary. He taught English at Christ School, Arden, North Carolina, 1960 – 61, and then at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, 1961 – 63. On discovering Lewis’ writings, Hooper was deeply affected by them. Lewis in fact was to become his lifelong mentor. After corresponding for a while, Lewis invited Walter Hooper to visit him in Oxford. They met on 7 June 1963, and Hooper attended his first meeting of the Inklings group of Lewis’ friends a few days later.…

A love letter to nature

Christopher Shefford, p. 18

The past year has not been satisfactory for a myriad of reasons and for a myriad of people. The world faces a collective worry not seen since the eve of the Second World War. I, like many people, found myself suddenly unemployed and with nothing to do but watch the state of things and fret. It was during this time of uncertainty that I found solace in my surroundings and the writing of Tolkien. My surroundings are the small village just outside St Albans in which I live, which has brought to mind the beauty of Middle-earth.…

Richard C. West (1944 – 2020)

Charles E. Noad, p. 19

The American Tolkien scholar Richard C. West passed away on Sunday, November 29th

He had been diagnosed with Covid-19. Richard founded the University of Wisconsin Tolkien Society in 1966, which,under his editorship, brought out 8 issues of the scholarly fanzine Orcrist in 1967 – 77 witha special ninth issue to celebrate their 50th Anniversary in 2016.…

Call for papers: Lost or gained in translation? Transatlantic metamorphoses

Maria Fleischhack, p. 29

Symposium of the Inklings Society in Neuendettelsau, 16 – 17 October, 2021 

Like all forms of popular culture, fantastic texts are strongly influenced by the historical and cultural environment they are created in. This connection is particularly evident in strongly formalized sub-genres such as quest fantasies, space operas, and superhero stories. 

The symposium of the Inklings Society will address questions concerning the changes these materials underwent under the multiple mutual influences of British and American popular culture. Obvious examples could be the works of Inklings authors, e.g., the influence Tolkien’s world building had on Heroic Fantasy or on role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, or, vice versa, the traces of classical pulp science fiction to be found in Lewis’s Perelandra trilogy. An extended view could focus, for instance, on the influence of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland on The Wizard of Oz or, in reverse, on the way American comics like Batman or Captain America have instigated specifically British variations, from Judge Dredd and Captain Britain to V for Vendetta.…

Reviews

Tolkienography: Isildur’s Bane and iconic interpretations: Jay Johnstone; Thomas Honegger, commentary

Lance A. Green, p. 14

Tolkienography invites a deep immersion in Tolkien’s myth through the artwork of Jay Johnstone, who has been painting Tolkien-themed illustrations for about thirty years. Together with Thomas Honegger’s commentary, Tolkienography offers a novel artistic rendering of Tolkien’s sub-creation, provoking new interpretations of its characters and essential themes. Printed with colourful clarity, the styles and techniques of Johnstone’s pieces are different enough to avoid any redundancy for the viewer. Colours, spacing, and characters are varied with each turn of the page, as are the painting techniques, which range from more contemporary styles to those mirroring medieval forms, including frescos and Byzantine iconography. Johnstone’s oils and charcoal works certainly capture the imagination: the charcoal and chalk of the Council of Elrond (25), the oil on canvas of Isildur’s death in the river Anduin (35, 39), and the binding of Melkor (41) all wonderfully convey character and scene. An immense oil and gold-leaf rendering of Gandalf atop Shadowfax riding into Helm’s Deep (49−50) is one of the most striking paintings in the book, afforded two full pages in order to capture its immensity. Yet the artwork that crowns and guides Tolkienography is the Byzantine-styled iconographic paintings of Tolkien’s characters.…

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