Tag: The Two Towers

Ranking LotR Covers From Best to Worst

You have the hottest takes on the Hobbit covers, and now you have them for the Lord of the Rings as well!

Chinese – Fake! :'(

Image via Good eReader

I usually only put ACTUAL covers, but this one snuck up on me. Maybe just because I wanted to believe. It’s simple, elegant, and look at the figures. I don’t care if it’s real, it’s pretty, and I need it. Literally just take my money. Too good to be true.

11/10

 

Pencil

Image via Reddit

There’s a lot to like here, and not just because I grew up with this edition of the hobbit. They’re pretty, the style is consistent, and you know I like a set that looks like a set. Still not perfect – the color leeches over time, which might be tonally consistent, but visually it’s weird.

9/10

 

Goth

Image via The Literary Omnivore

These are pretty good. Dark, simple, have elvish and gold. Weird, old school illustrations. I don’t know what the significance of the yellow, red, and blue is, but it’s not objectionable, and we get the ring motif. I like it, but it’s not blowing my mind.

8/10

 

Forest

Image via WorthPoint

These are pretty! I like the illustrations, I like the subtle colors, I like that the set looks consistent, but the illustrations should be different! Like, the same style, but different illustrations. I want unity, but I don’t want it to be boring.

7/10

 

Monotone

Image via Tolkien Collector’s Guide

I like the colors, I like the art, I like that it’s retro. That said, it doesn’t have  a lot of character. It’s bland. You have a stupid maybe eagle, it’s all pretty general, and it looks like it was made by an algorithm. Ultimately? Meh.

6/10

 

Simple

Image via Adazing

I like the bright colors, I like the really metal illustration of the horse and the wraiths, but the first one with Gandalf is so bright, there’s just tonal dissonance. The middle one is perfect, because it’s vivid and menacing, but the others feel lopsided.

5/10

 

Ink?

Image via Open Culture

This is a mess. I like the first one so much – it’s simple, it’s thematic. We’ve got elvish, fire, rings. The second one is ugly and I don’t know why you’d do that. That green is bad, idk if that’s supposed to be an eagle, and don’t get me started on the third one. Pass.

4/10

 

Elfish

Image via Adazing

We’ve got the tricolor look again, but all the pretty art is covered up. I’m pretty sure the tree on the third book is just taken from a hobbit cover. I’m not even that into the movie font. The scale doesn’t play with the eagle. Disappointing.

3/10

 

Nightmare

Image via Adazing

I have every question. The eagles look like crows. The last one seems to be an army of snakes. The first is just a tree? All that purple doesn’t make any sense. It’s all so dark it looks like none of it is. No tone at all, just a heap of nonsense.

2/10

 

Realistic

     
Image via Nerdalicious 

God I hate what they used to do to fantasy books. I hate it. Gandalf looks like he’s offerning you drugs, the winged hat looks incredibly silly, and I’m horrified that’s an elf with a mullet. The purple’s too bright. An elf with a mullet! Ffs.

1/10

 

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Featured image via Zoom Comics

Ranking “The Hobbit” Covers From Best to Worst

Alright, so you can’t buy the one above, or it’s super expensive or something, but this isn’t a practical article. This is like those emoji rankings, but with The Hobbit covers, because one of the movies came out on this day, but we’re certainly not gonna talk about that.

Oldschool

IMAGE VIA ALAMY

Okay, this is the edition I have at home, so I might be biased. Or I just have NO control in museum gift shops. Definitely the second one. But it’s good! Simple, classic, has elvish, plus, I can tell you the dust jacket is a nice soft matte. 9/10

 

Hoard

Image via Paste Magazine

Smaug’s got GOLD. As a dragon myself, I approve. I mean, as a totally human person, I like the authenticity. And the glowy-ness. It really gives you an idea what it was like for Bilbo to just roll up to this huge hoard. There’s a sense of grandeur. 8/10

 

Modern

Image via Amazon

This one is also good, at least to me, because it’s simple and classic. The mountains are good! We got the eagles! The Hobbit might not be that dark, but it’s maybe a warning about the Lord of the Rings. It’s got style. 8/10.

 

Watercolor

Image via Pinterest

Again, I might be biased, because my mother had this edition, so it’s nostalgic for me. I think the illustrations are a little nostalgic in themselves, though. You get the sense of Middle Earth in a more peaceful time. 7/10.

 

Graphic

Image via Pinterest

Sure, it looks like someone’s graphic design project, but I’m saying that seriously, not like Graphic Design is my Passion. But it’s modern, it incorporates a lot of elements, and it does something different. Good colors. 7/10

 

Illustrated

Image via Penguin Random House

Sure, Bilbo looks like a toddler instead of just a shorter type of person – look at those chubby cheeks! But the landscapes are good, and Gandalf is nice and mysterious. Still, a little silly. 5/10

 

Cloth-Bound

   
Image via Biblio

I love a clothbound, I really do, but but this is lame. The grey makes no sense, I don’t know why the leaves are falling, and I’m frankly baffled by the butterflies. Do I have The Hobbit memory loss? I just don’t get it. 4/10

 

Movie Version

Image via Amazon

Every movie version is bad, but this is just extra bad. It looks like it was illustrated in 2005. The focus on feet is weird. I guess the door is supposed to make me think of the ring, but it doesn’t. It makes me mad. 3/10

 

Whatever This Is

Image via Nerdalicious

This is a horror. Was Gollum ever supposed to be that tall? Or… pointy? It’s dated, it’s weird as hell, and I don’t know how to even begin to describe Bilbo. He looks like a potato, and Gollum looks like a triangle. 1/10

 

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Featured image via Rare Book Cellar

Our Favorite Tolkien & Lewis Apocrypha

Tolkien and Lewis were both in residence at Oxford for many years, studying and teaching both. They were also close friends, even though they disagreed on almost everything. Sure, they had a shared interest in language, and in what we now call fantasy, but they disagreed on religion, and on the tones of their books. There are also a lot of stories about their friendship, few confirmed, but all amazing. Here are our favorites!

 

1. The Lamppost

 

Image via Dissolve

 

There’s a story that says Lewis specifically put the lamppost in Narnia because Tolkien said a good fantasy story would never have one. The sheer pettiness. What an icon. No fantasy story would have a lamppost? Well this one does! Please, TELL Lewis what his story can have. There’s no slowing him down. A lesson in spite we should really all take to heart.

 

 

2. Religion

 

Image via IOL

 

Tolkien was, as well as being a linguist and historian, quite Catholic, and Lewis found his philosophical suggestions appealing, becoming religious himself. Tolkien didn’t get what he wanted, though, because though Lewis became more religious, he was Protestant, and Tolkien didn’t at all appreciate how much religion was in Lewis’ books. Kinda played himself.

 

3. The Draft

 

Image via The Creative Penn

 

Apparently when Lewis first read his draft of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe to Tolkien and a croup of friends, Tolkien hated it. He thought it was terrible and combined too many mythologies. He wanted more consistent world building, and I don’t have a good source for this, but I’ve heard he even told Lewis to stop writing.

 

 

 

Featured image via J A Carlisle 

Frodo on a balcony in Rivendell with Rivendell and waterfall behind him

Top 5 Best Locations in ‘Lord of the Rings’

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is one of the most well respected pieces of fantasy literature for a reason. Not only do its characters, themes, and wonderful prose continue to resonate with readers decades after its first publication but the world Tolkien created, Middle-earth, feels so real that many readers have desperately wanted to be there since being drawn in through the first lines of The Fellowship of the Ring. Here are some of the best locations throughout Middle-earth, each breathtaking in its imagined beauty.

 

1. The Shire

 

The great hills of the Shire, a unspoiled paradise of trees and green
IMAGE VIA TOKIENGATEWAY

A loosely organized set of territories nestled in northwest Middle-earth, the Shire is home to the hobbits and the place where Frodo Baggins, Bilbo Baggins, and Samwise Gamgee call home. Defined by lush wilderness and agriculture, the Shire is isolated from the rest of Middle-earth but it is that determination to keep it safe which motivates Frodo and Sam to keep it safe throughout their long quest to destroy the One Ring. The Shire begins our introduction to the world of Middle-earth and its a place that we, much like Frodo and Bilbo, always wish to return to.

 

2. Rivendell

 

The great elf city of Rivendell, sitting atop a waterfall as cascades of water spill around it

Image Via Lord of the Rings wiki

A haven for the elves in the midst of the Misty Mountains, this place is where the Fellowship of the Ring is formed during the Council of Elrond. Rivendell is a valley, surrounded by pine-trees and maintained as a hidden place. Rivendell features a cool, temperate climate. Uniquely, Rivendell is not affected by time, allowing Elrond and his people to live free of the vestiges of time, in peace but at the same time, somewhat stagnant. Playing an important role throughout the books, Rivendell’s time comes to an end when the One Ring is destroyed, the elves leaving Rivendell and heading to the Grey Havens across the seas.

3. Isengard

 

The great fortress of Isengard, burning with the fires of trees hurled into the forges

Image Via Lord of the Rings wiki

The great fortress of Isengard plays a pivotal role in the books, being the residence of Saruman and his orc army. Saruman defiles the valley around Isengard, cutting down trees and burning the land. Within Isengard, the fortress burns with the smolders of war, as countless Orcs are bred, given armor and weapons to conquer the land of Rohan. The Ents, angered at Saruman’s contempt for nature, storm the fortress in the famous March of the Ents, routing Saruman’s army and stopping his dreams of conquest in their tracks. Isengard remains a pivotal symbol of evil, being one of the titular Two Towers. 

 

4. Moria

 

Gandalf, the wizard, sits before the door into Moria, trying to figure out the password as the hobbits linger nearby

Image Via Ted Nasmith 

Home to the dwarves, Moria, otherwise known as Khazad-dûm, lies deep in the Misty Mountains. There, the dwarves mined the rare material minthril but they dug too deep and free an ancient, powerful monster known as a Balrog. The dwarves are forced to abandon their home and consider the tunnels cursed. The Fellowship is forced to pass through Moria during their travels and here, they meet the Balrog. Gandalf duels the monster on the bridge of Khazad-dûm but the Balrog drags him down into the abyss when he destroys the bridge, forcing the quest to continue without the wise wizard.

 

5. Barad-dûr

 

The sky is blotted out by mounds of fire and ash from the volcanic Mount Doom, as the great black tower of Barad-dur sits in the foreground, blazing with the hellish Eye of Sauron

Image Via Lord of the Rings wiki

Barad-dûr, otherwise known as the Dark Tower, is the second of the titular Two Towers. It is the fortress of the Dark Lord Sauron, acting as his stronghold in the barren wasteland of Mordor. Sauron keeps watch over his land via his great eye, the Eye of Sauron, acting as a symbol of his evil. The fortress itself is described as huge and utterly impenetrable. Held together via Sauron’s magic, it falls to ruin when the One Ring is destroyed, again symbolizing Sauron’s own fall.

What are some of your favorite Lord of the Rings locations? Tell us in the comments!

 

Featured Image Via Tolkien Gateway