" In this universe the night was falling; the shadows were lengthening towards an east that would not know another dawn. But elsewhere the stars were still young and the light of morning lingered; and along the path he once had followed, Man would one day go again"

Arthur C. Clarke Against the Fall of Night

Saturday, February 22, 2020

And take the hidden paths that run Towards the Moon or to the Sun.

  My two favourite fantasy trilogies are The Riddle Master by Patricia A. McKillip  and The Lord Of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien's work has been a big part of my life and imagination since my teens. I have a a couple of books concerning Tolkien's experiences in World War One and how they may have influenced his writing currently waiting on my Kindle. I also loved his illustrations and recently used Christmas Gift cards to purchase the book Tolkien:The Maker of Middle-Earth by Catherine McIlwaine, about a 2018 exhibition covering the life and worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien that was held at the The Bodleian library. 

A link to the exhibition is here.

I have been reading Megan N Fontenot's great series on the People of Middle-East running on Tor.com and really enjoyed the essay.   

The People of Middle-earth: One Ring to Rule Them All

I have enjoyed it enough that I am considering looking for the History of Middle-Earth which runs to a rather daunting 12 volumes. But the basement renovation continues and many books have been boxed so I will probably wait until I can see what I already have. We did discover a couple more electrical outlets as we moved stuff so the process has sped up.  

There have been a couple of significant deaths in the Tolkien universe in 2020, as I am sure you are aware. His son Christopher, who was responsible for the bulk of his father’s posthumously published work passed away January 16th.


And Barbara Remington, the illustrator who created the most widely recognized covers for J.R.R. Tolkien's “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “The Hobbit” passed away on January 23rd. 


Alan Brown on Tor.com published a lovely essay on these editions and you can read it here. 


I know that when I first saw the Ballantine Editions with the covers inspired by Tolkien's illustrations I was drawn to them. (I certainly need to dig out the hair-
dryer and take the stickers off) However as I have become more interested in book covers and illustration, some editions just strike me as being such an important part of the history, not just of the author's work itself, but also of the genre and the period that I may change my feelings about them. Remington's covers are possibly the greatest example of this, for me personally, which is why I was so taken with Brown's essay. 

"The Road goes ever on and on 

Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet."


  1. These early '70s "Remington" pb editions were my introduction to Tolkien. I had a poster of the entire triptych painting stuck on the wall of my dorm room.

  2. Hi

    Again I am sorry to have missed your comment. It is funny the Remington books did nothing for me at the time, they were just everywhere. Now I find them really nostalgic, that has happened with a number of titles, HPL for example I look for the copies and cover artists of the editions I read as a teenager. For Norton or Heinlein I look for the hardcovers I first saw in the school/public library.

    All the best