Beyond Bree

Nancy Martsch, editor

July 2021

7 July 2021

In this issue: 1 article, 3 notes.


On the origin and nature of Ringwraiths

Ruth Lacon, p. 1

As so often with J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing, the seemingly simple question of What are the Ringwraiths?” has no simple answer. The nature of The Black Rider(s)” changed over the course of writing of The Lord of the Rings. Aspects of those changes are still visible in the book as we have it today, despite all the revision work that J.R.R. Tolkien did both before and after publication. Even if we look only at the final construct, the Ringwraiths,” what they are (or might be) is shaped by Tolkien’s intellectual world. The pace of scientific discovery from 1870 to 1940 meant that people of Tolkien’s generation were more open to the idea of weird phenomena as yet-to-be-discovered science” than we tend to be. For example, wireless telegraphy” had gone from being something as fantastic as telepathy to the everyday reality of the radio in the corner of the living-room, the tie that bound people and nations together as well as a vital tool of modern warfare. If that could happen — what else was possible? Tolkien’s social circles included people at the cutting edge of both contemporary science — such as his former student and later friend Albert Hugh Smith and the understanding of “‘pyschic phenomena’ — such as HH Price of New College Oxford. We may think of The Lord of the Rings as”‘a classic fantasy book,” but it does incorporate enough contemporary science, pyschology and ideas about the paranormal to merit Naomi Mitchison’s description of it as super science fiction.” The Ringwraiths are a case in point, and exploring how they came to be what they are takes us to some interesting places.


Days of the craze № 36: The Hobbit and The Champions on TV

Dale Nelson, p. 6

I have only a glimpse of Tolkienian content to report this time. It occurred as I indulged in a pastime of mine. When watching TV programs and movies, I like to spot headlines on prop newspapers and the titles of books.…

But Beyond Bree is a Tolkien zine. Others have noticed the copy of The Return of the King in the movie Ordinary People (1980). What may be found from the 1965 – 1969 period of the Tolkien craze? So far, I know of just one instance.…

Aubusson’s newest Tolkien tapestry

Denis Bridoux, p. 7

After a long gap for obvious reasons, I’m back from Aubusson, France, home of the Aubusson tapestry makers, where the first Númenórean carpet was released from its loom on Friday [June 4, 2021].…

It’s a remarkable piece. One of two which Tolkien drew in 1960 (TAI #74). It is 4.6m x 3.3m and weighs about 100kg. It was woven in wool in the simple knot Savonnerie method by the Atelier Four which, among others, made the Guernica tapestry which hung for many years at the United Nations. It required 1600 hours of weaving. In total, 9 people worked on it from conception to completion. Seeing it at close range is amazing.…

news, letters, &c.

p. 7

Short notes and letters re the closing of Oxford University Press’s printing house, Time magazine’s special Tolkien issue, The War of the Rohirrim animé film, corrections, Beyond Bree formatting, Christmas card exchanges, &c.

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date recorded 📅2021-08-20
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