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Tolkien Reading Day 2023!

Yesterday - By Urulókë

The day is upon us! While TCG is not running an event this year, there is a lot out there for you to listen to.

Tolkien Society

The Tolkien Society organized the first Tolkien Reading Day back in 2003 and has held an event annually on the day that Frodo destroyed the Ring. The theme this year is Travel and Adventure. They are holding three reading sessions, you can see the schedule here:

A Long Expected Soundscape

Jordan Rannells is a talented musician and producer, who is making a "soundscape" that has music and ambiance to enhance your reading or audiobook experience. He is having a livestream with many guest readers, starting at 1 PM EDT and running for 10 hours. With guests like Alan and Shawn from the Prancing Pony Podcast, myself and Chad from TCG, Phil Dragash, James Tauber, Marcel Abron-Bülles, and many more, it is sure to be a lot of fun. The livestream should be here:

- and be sure to subscribe to Jordan's channel here:

The Prancing Pony Podcast

Starting at 9 AM PDT, Alan Sisto will be doing a live reading session on his TikTok channel - always a pleasure listening to him.

(I will come back and edit in more events throughout the day, please reply with any you are aware of as well!)
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“Sneaking, Sneaking” : hands-on with The Lord of the Rings: Gollum

23 Mar - By Urulókë

“Tired he is, thirsty he is, yes thirsty; and he guides them and he searches for paths, and they say sneak, sneak.” (The Lord of the Rings)


A few weeks ago, Daedalic invited (who invited me as a guest reviewer) and others to a special hands-on playthrough session of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, followed by a Q&A session with Tolkien lore expert Damiri Knapheide. With almost an hour of playtime across many levels, I had the chance to see a bit of the world they have created, and the lovely chat with Damiri did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm for a full playthrough on release day, May 25th.

As a casual gamer on the best of days, I was not the easiest guest for our hosts to guide through each level - we had many a laugh at my ineptitude with various controller skills, but I was still having a blast, and didn’t feel like I was in over my head or wouldn’t enjoy the game at my own speed and skill level. The gameplay is focused on stealth, but I was here for the story driven experience - seeing Mirkwood and Mordor through the eyes of talented artists, who clearly have a passion and deep respect for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.


The team chose as their backdrop the period of time between Bilbo’s escape from the goblins in The Hobbit, and when the fellowship enters the Mines of Moria in The Lord of the Rings. What happened with Sméagol/Gollum in those years? The books tell us a few tidbits of information, for example through Gandalf’s exposition and in the Appendices - this game connects those dots into a coherent story. The dual (dueling?) personalities are at the forefront in this game’s morality system, with many opportunities to choose different actions and responses based on your preference for whether you feel like Slinker or Stinker (Sam’s words) at the time. These choices affect the game play significantly - we were told that one level is completely different based on your morality choices to that point.

I was impressed with the narrative department at Daedalic, represented in this session by Damiri Knapheide. It’s a tough job with many people watching carefully - complex rights issues around books (some usable, some not), movie and media representations, and a very particular fan-base. Damiri’s passion and knowledge were obvious to me, and I definitely look forward to having more opportunities to chat with him informally in the future if the opportunity arises. Even in the brief hour I had to wander in their game, there were scores of subtle background nods to the wider corpus, and backstories for prominent lore figures that were alive at this time.


With an estimated 25-30 hour playthrough time and the chance to play multiple times making different choices in the morality system, I only had a glimpse of all the game has to offer. A challenge with a game of this nature, squeezed in between two fixed points in time and character development, the question remains - can Daedalic tell a good story, where your choices have an impact, and yet end with the same Sméagol/Gollum as we know him when he meets up with Frodo and Sam in the books? I look forward to finding out.

Be sure to check out the new story trailer on Youtube.

Here is today’s press announcement for the game release.

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum™ Slinks Out of the Shadows on May 25th

The story-driven adventure across Middle-earth arrives this May for PC and consoles— Sméagol will swear it on the Precious!

Hamburg, Germany, March 23rd, 2023 - Today Daedalic Entertainment and NACON announced that their highly anticipated adventure game, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, will release to PC, PlayStation, and Xbox on May 25th. A version for Nintendo Switch™ is planned for later this year. Based on the beloved The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, the fantasy game takes players on an epic journey across Middle-earth, starring one of the lore‘s most compelling characters: Sméagol— *Gollum, Gollum*.

Check out fresh gameplay from Middle-earth, with insights from the developers inspired by the iconic lore. Daedalic andNacon will stream a special showcase at 06:30 pm CET on Twitch today.

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is a story-driven action adventure. Embark on a perilous journey as Gollum, chasing the only thing that is precious to you. Climb, leap, and sneak your way past dangers or into advantageous spots. Gollum is skillful and sly, and torn by a split personality. It is up to you to decide whether to yield to the darker side of Gollum or trust the kinder gentler hint of Sméagol.

Co-published by Daedalic Entertainment and NACON, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is developed by a small team of passionate Tolkienites at Daedalic Entertainment in partnership with Middle-earth Enterprises. The game will release on PC, PlayStation®4, PlayStation®5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch™. A physical edition for consoles will also be available.


NACON is a company of the BIGBEN Group founded in 2019 to optimize its know-how through strong synergies in the video game market. By bringing together its 16 development studios, the publishing of AA video games, the design and distribution of premium gaming devices, NACON focuses 30 years of expertise at the service of players. This new unified business unit strengthens NACON's position in the market and enables it to innovate by creating new unique competitive advantages.

About Daedalic Entertainment
Daedalic Entertainment publishes and develops high-quality games for all platforms. The company has a diverse line-up of high-quality titles, including classic adventures, RPGs, and strategy and multiplayer games. With an international team of around 100 employees, Daedalic is currently developing a new line-up of innovative games across consoles, PC, and mobile platforms.

Based in Hamburg, Germany, Daedalic is one of Europe’s most acclaimed publishers and developers. With a total of 32 awards in the German Developers Award (including multiple accolades for 'Studio of the Year') and 12 German Computer Game Awards for genre-defining games such as Deponia, Edna & Harvey, Silence, Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth, The Long Journey Home, and State of Mind, Daedalic is a record holder for the two most prestigious game awards in Germany. Recent publishing hits include Barotrauma, Unrailed!, Iratus: Lord of the Dead, Partisans 1941 and more.

Daedalic is currently developing The Lord of the Rings – Gollum. The story-driven adventure tells the story of Gollum from a perspective never witnessed before in any storytelling media, all the while staying faithful to the legendary books of J.R.R. Tolkien.

About Middle-earth Enterprises
Middle-earth created by J.R.R. Tolkien is the definitive, deepest, richest and most beloved fantasy world of our time.  As its stewards and custodians, our goal is to consistently deliver a wealth of great content in both new, and known formats; to ensure Middle-earth’s rightful place as the world’s leading fantasy IP and brand, forever.

Inspired by our deep appreciation for the fictional world created by Professor Tolkien, we are dedicated to working with those providing highest quality products in accordance with best green business and sustainability practices, including fair trade, equality in the workplace, and a commitment to protect our earth, its wondrous beauty and the viability of every living creature.  Middle-earth Enterprises has been producing and licensing films,  merchandise, services, and live stage productions based upon The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit books, for more than four decades.
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The Hobbit Illustrated by the Author

20 Mar - By zionius

The Hobbit Illustrated by the Author

Illustrated Hobbit Flat-rectangle.jpg

For the first time ever, a special enhanced edition of the enchanting prelude to The Lord of the Rings, illustrated throughout with over 50 sketches, drawings, paintings and maps by J.R.R. Tolkien himself [20 b/w, 36 col illus] and with the complete text printed in two colours.

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely travelling further than the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag End. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard, Gandalf, and a company of thirteen dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an unexpected journey ‘there and back again’. They have a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon…

Written for J.R.R. Tolkien’s own children, The Hobbit was published on 21 September 1937. With a beautiful cover design, a handful of black & white drawings and two maps by the author himself, the book became an instant success and was reprinted shortly afterwards with five colour plates.

Tolkien’s own selection of finished paintings and drawings have become inseparable from his text, adorning editions of The Hobbit for more than 85 years. But the published art has afforded only a glimpse of Tolkien’s creative process, and many additional sketches, coloured drawings and maps – although exhibited and published elsewhere – have never appeared within the pages of The Hobbit.

In this unique enhanced edition of Tolkien’s enchanting classic tale, the full panoply of his art is reproduced for the first time, presenting a grand total of 50 illustrations to accompany Bilbo Baggins on his adventure ‘there and back again’.

UK Trade Hardcover

Affiliate Links

The Hobbit: Illustrated by the Author (UK)

HarperCollins (2023-09-14)

£30.17 (Hardcover) - Availability: Preorderable

Publisher ‏ : ‎ HarperCollins (September 14, 2023)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 384 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0008627782

UK Deluxe

No details as yet

US Trade Hardcover

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The Hobbit Illustrated by the Author (US)

William Morrow (2023-09-19)

$71.86 (Hardcover) - Availability: Preorderable

Publisher ‏ : ‎ William Morrow (September 19, 2023)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 432 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0063347533

US E-book

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The Hobbit Illustrated by the Author (Tolkien Illustrated Editions)

William Morrow (2023-09-19)

$27.99 (Kindle Edition) - Availability: Preorderable

UK E-book

Affiliate Links

The Hobbit: Illustrated by the Author

HarperCollins (2023-09-14)

£33.99 (Kindle Edition) - Availability: Preorderable
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The Facsimile Hobbit

20 Mar - By Trotter

I noticed some posts on Reddit in about the Facsimile Hobbit and decided to get another copy, which is currently the 6th (stated) impression, though it should really be the 7th impression.
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The Hobbit (Facsimile 1st Edition) (2016)

HarperCollins (2016)

$27.07 Blackwell's (hardback) - Availability: Usually dispatched within 7 days
$32.08 (Hardcover) - Availability: Now
£25.00 (Hardcover) - Availability: Now
£25.96 AbeBooks - Availability: Click to check
£16.00 eBay UK - Availability: Click to check

If you do not have a copy at all, then I recommend the Gift set edition, for the extras that come with this copy, including Tolkien's Essay on Dragons.
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The Hobbit (80th Anniversary Giftset) (2017)

HarperCollins (2018-05-31)

$45.00 Blackwell's (hardback) - Availability: Usually dispatched within 7 days
$56.05 (Hardcover) - Availability: Now
£38.85 (Hardcover) - Availability: Now
£41.25 AbeBooks - Availability: Click to check
£33.12 eBay UK - Availability: Click to check

I am showing four editions of The Hobbit in this article

(a) The Hobbit 1937, 1st edition, 1st impression, printed by Unwin Printers, Woking
(b) The Facsimile Hobbit 2016, 1st impression (first state), printed by Rotolitto Lombarda
(c) The Facsimile Hobbit Gift set 2017, 1st impression (second state), printed by RR Donnelley APS, China
(d) The Facsimile Hobbit 2016, 6th impression, printed by RR Donnelley APS, China


(a) at the top, (d) at the bottom

(a) (b)
(c) (d)




The 6th Impression

Is it worth getting a new impression, if you already have the facsimile Hobbit?

I think it is, the book fits very well into the slipcase and is very easy to take out and look at, the slip cased first impression is not. The book is also sewn, which is a nice improvement.

The binding, staining and paper, used in the facsimile will never be an exact match for the 1937 original, but I think these are very good, and I like the use of whiter paper for the end-maps in this impression.

I also prefer the green used for the binding, but I know that some people prefer the colour used for the 2016 release, I think you may have me to blame for it being changed if you preferred the original shade.

The blue on the dust-jacket is a bit lighter on this impression.

The only change that I would really like to see would be the dust-jacket flaps being reproduced photographically from the 1937 1st impression dust-jacket, but this is a minor point and does not spoil the experience of the book for me.
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Toybiz Action Figures Overview

18 Mar - By AndyBirdUK

The Lord of the Rings Peter Jackson movie Toybiz Action Figure figure range is one of the best Action Figure ranges there has been, which is fantastic for Tolkien collectors. The figures are high quality, a great size, great detail, very accurate and there is a large number of characters.

However, the range is quite hard to navigate, this article will look at some of the aspects to consider about the range. It is quite statistical not a full list of every item.

Please note that this article is looking at the main range of the Action Figures and will not be considering different language variants, and, although it does consider the different movie/colour packaging variations, it does not include any other types of variations such as same packaging differences (I might do a separate article on those).

The range consists of 240 items based around the 3 movies (Fellowship 85 items, Two Towers with 74 items, Return of King with 76 items and there are also 5 non specific General items).

There were different types of items released primarily based on the number of characters and size on the characters included with the item. These can be broken down as single figures packs, double figure packs, triple figure packs, horse/beast and rider packs, large figure packs, multi figure packs and promo items.

So firstly let’s look at the packaging for the items, the first thing to mention is that the items were released to correspond with the movie releases and the packaging of items related to the movie being released, which did not always correspond to the movie the item was for. The packing colour related to the movies promotional colour schemes, these being Fellowship Green, Two Towers Red, Return of the King Blue, Post movies Trilogy and Post movies General. Some movie items were released during a different movie release, which meant that some items packaging colour did not correspond to the items movie. The breakdown of this is as follows:
Fellowship items - Packaging: Green 59, Red 13, Blue 4, Trilogy 4, General 4
Two Towers items - Packaging: Red 59, Blue 8, Trilogy 5, General 2
Return of the King items - Packaging: Blue 63, Trilogy 5, General 7
General items - Packaging: Blue 3, General 2

These are some examples of Fellowship items in different film release colours:

The next aspect of packaging to look at is the style of packing. Of the different types of items, single figures were released in two phases, initially in “Half Moon” packaging and then on Card packaging, double and triple figure set packs were only released in “Half Moon” packaging. Large figures, Horse and Rider and Multi Figure set packs were all released in boxes (of various sizes and formats). The breakdown of items is, Half Moon 82 items, Carded 106 items, Sets 50 items (and there were also 2 promo items in plain box packaging).

The types of items breakdown is as follows:
170 single packs - 64 half moon packaging, 106 carded packaging
14 double packs - all half moon
4 triple packs - all half moon
15 horse/beast and rider packs
9 large figure packs
26 multi figure packs
2 Promo

These are examples of the different types of items:

Although there were 240 items released, a lot of these contained more than one actual figure (the Fellowship with Peter Jackson boxed set contains 10 figures). In fact there were a total of 393 individual figures within the whole range.


It should be pointed out that within these 393 figures there are quite a few different copies produced of the same characters. The characters can be split into 2 categories, the actual named characters (there are 43 of these) and general characters i.e. Orcs, Elves, Rohirrim, Ringwraith, Horses etc. (there are 13 of these). Of the total figures, 318 are named character and 75 general characters.

However, there are also different versions of a lot of the characters, for instance there are 10 versions of Aragorn. Some of the versions of characters are exclusive to a specific multi pack.

There are also multiple copies of each version of a character. These are a; re-issues of the same version in different packaging, and b; the same version included within multi character sets.

For instance there are actually a total of 37 Aragorn figures within the 10 different versions, these are:
Strider - 4 times
Strider at Weathertop - 1 time
Super Poseable Strider - 2 times
Aragorn - 11 times
Helms Deep Aragorn - 4 times
Battle Action Aragorn - 1 time
Council Aragorn - 1 time
Super Poseable Aragorn - 3 times
Pelennor Fields Aragorn - 6 times
Aragorn King of Gondor - 4 times

Here are examples of each of the different Aragorn versions:

Of the 43 named characters, there are 2 with 10 versions, Aragorn and Frodo, and there are 9 with just a single version. Overall there are a total of 135 different versions of the 43 named characters.

Of the total 318 named character figures, there are 11 named characters with 10 or more figures (Aragorn, Frodo, Legolas, Gandalf, Gimli, Gollum, Sam, Boromir, Pippin, Bilbo and Merry). There are 9 named characters with only 1 figure (Celeborn, Denethor, Gamling, Gorbag, Grima, Mouth of Sauron, Shagrat, Shaku and Theodred).

Of the 13 general characters there are 75 individual figures made up of 1 Army of the Dead, 1 Easterling, 4 Elves, 1 Fell Beast, 6 Gondorian, 4 Haradrim, 14 Horses, 11 Orcs, 14 Ringwraith, 3 Rohirrim, 5 Trolls, 10 Uruk-hai and 1 Warg.

Within the 13 general characters there are 39 different versions of the characters. The most versions are of the Orcs, with 8 versions, and there are 5 which only have 1 version (Army of the Dead, Easterling, Fell Beast, Rohirrim and Warg).

These are the Orc versions:
Orc Warrior
Orc Overseer
Moria Orc
Moria Orc Archer
Isengard Orc Captain
Mordor Orc Lieutenant (exclusive to Pelennor Fields multi figure pack)
Morannon Orc


There are a few other things worth mentioning, firstly that there were 26 exclusive items, featuring 58 figures. These items were only available in some countries (UK, Australia, Canada, Spain and Korea). They are made up of 2 Singles Half Moons, 6 Singles Carded, 7 Doubles, 4 Triples, 2 Large, 2 Horse and Rider and 3 Multi figure packs. Some of these are the rarest and most collectable of the whole range. These are exclusive items, all of the figures in them are available in other items.

As an example, these are the 6 Canadian exclusive carded Return of the King figures, note that these have dual language packaging:

Another interesting example is the Canadian Carry Case (classed as a multi pack) which came with 8 figures.


There were also 2 promo items. These were a mail-away from Burger King. The first was an exclusive Uruk-hai figure, however, after a time, they ran out of these and sent a standard Lutz figure replacement. These figures came in a plain white box.


The final thing to mention is the Balrog. Toybiz did not produce a Balrog figure as part of their range, however NECA did produce a one off Balrog action figure to the same scale and this is often referenced alongside the series. The Balrog was a limited edition and did not come in any themed packaging, just a plain cardboard box.

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