The Guardian

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Hoard of the rings: Lost” scripts for BBC Tolkien drama discovered

The Guardian } Dalya Alberge

Decades before Peter Jackson directed his epic adaptations of The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien was involved with the first ever dramatisation of his trilogy [sic; recte, novel”], but its significance was not realised in the 1950s and the BBC’s audio recordings are believed to have been destroyed.

Now an Oxford academic has delved into the BBC archives and discovered the original scripts for the two series of 12 radio episodes broadcast in 1955 and 1956, to the excitement of fellow scholars.…

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The Laughing Philosopher”
Garden House Hotel, Cambridge
August 1952

Unseen J.R.R. Tolkien paintings, photographs and video clips released

The Guardian } Harriet Sherwood

Unseen photographs and paintings of JRR Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings fantasy books [sic], have been released by the writer’s estate, along with draft manuscripts and letters.

Its website has been relaunched with new material, including sections on Tolkien’s calligraphy and a timeline of his life.

Audio recordings and video clips featuring both Tolkien, who died in 1973, and his son Christopher, who died in 2020, are among the new material.…

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Prime Video
Amazon Studios

‘The history of fantasy is racialized’: Lord of the Rings series sparks debate over race

The Guardian } Sam Thielman

As the new Lord of the Rings series gears up for its September launch on Amazon, the company finds itself navigating treacherous, if familiar, waters and has already triggered a fierce debate over race by introducing characters of color into JRR Tolkien’s fantasy world.…

It’s tempting to dismiss the complaining as the usual internet nerd rage. Similar disputes played out when actors of color started taking new major roles in Star Wars products. But the conflict is also about the rise of two kinds of media empire, not just one: there is Amazon, the crown jewel in the vast business empire of Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, and there is YouTube, a place for every dork who likes to complain about pop culture and whose darker corners are a frequent haunt of racism and bigotry.

One group is populated by people who can afford to buy the rights to The Lord of the Rings, and the other is populated by people for whom The Lord of the Rings is the second-best thing to the Bible, but for both, an incredible amount of money and influence is at stake. And Amazon is probably wary that its grand project could be vulnerable to attacks by aggrieved online superfans.…

In human terms, being the target of rightwing hate campaigns can be draining and depressing. in business terms, it can really mess with a marketing budget, and that kind of power is attractive to permanently aggrieved pop culture devotees.

The extremity of protest over the unrealistic” presence of a Black dwarf princess feels silly, considering the stories themselves are about wizards and magic rings and the occasional dragon. But audiences, says Ebony Thomas, author of The Dark Fantastic and an associate professor at the University of Michigan, are not wrong when they say that Black characters seem like they just don’t belong in the notoriously white fantasy genre.

The history of fantasy is racialized,” she says. People are used to seeing fantasies and fairytales as all-white, particularly in faux-medieval or magical-medieval settings,” Thomas explains. We’re taking them out of the dream space. We’re taking them out of how they imagined it could be, and so it feels off to them. So that’s why they’re saying, you know, Who are these people? This is not what Tolkien intended! It’s not accurate!’”

Of course, if you’re willing to go back to the poems and legends that inspired Tolkien, you will definitely find characters who are not white.…

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Family owners put Blackwell’s bookshops up for sale: Waterstones seen as potential buyer after 143-year-old chain ditches plan to become employee-owned

The Guardian } Sarah Butler

The family behind Blackwell’s, the UK’s largest independent bookseller, has put the business up for sale after ditching a plan to hand it to employees. A deal would take Blackwell’s, which operates 18 shops and a website, out of family control for the first time in its 143-year history.

The retailer said it was looking for an external investor after a plan to put the business into employee ownership fell through. It said that goal ultimately proved to be difficult, due in large part to the ongoing uncertainty on the high street caused by Covid-19”.…

Julian Blackwell, the group’s owner and president, said: I would have loved to have handed over the company to its staff, but I also accept that in order to grow and remain competitive in the future, it is time for new ownership, ideas and investment.

Potential buyers are likely to include Waterstones, which is owned by the aggressive New York hedge fund Elliott Advisors. It snapped up rival independent Foyles in 2018 and previously took over smaller booksellers Dillons, Hatchards and Ottakar’s. While such a deal might attract attention from the competition watchdog, the scale of competition from Amazon and WH Smith means it could gain approval.…

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source URL 🌐News, sport and opinion from the Guardian's US edition | The Guardian
date recorded 📅2022-02-02
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