It’s Christmas-time again, which means that, for the 3rd year in a row, there is a new Hobbit movie out at the theaters. (No, I haven’t seen it, yet.) Of course, The Hobbit was only one book, and not a particularly long one at that. As fans know, writer/producer Peter Jackson et al. pulled additional material from elsewhere — namely, the appendices of The Lord of the Rings — to fill in some of the gaps and add backstory, thereby expanding The Hobbit into a movie trilogy. [Note: This will not be a commentary on the wisdom(?) of stretching it into a trilogy or the execution of said trilogy or of the faithfulness to the source material.]
Of course, there is still a lot more Tolkien wrote about Middle Earth — i.e., The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, and the History of Middle-Earth books. But, as I understand it, the movie rights have not been granted/sold. Plus, from what I understand (and please correct me if I’m wrong), they comprise mostly myths, legends, and short stories spanning thousands of years, so it would be quite difficult to pull a coherent narrative straight from the material. In other words, any attempt to do more Tolkien movies would have to take a lot more creative license to flesh out a complete, movie-length story than even Jackson’s team has done. But, some of it might work as a TV series, or maybe a series of mini-series….
But, let’s not talk about that. Instead, let’s just take a look at some beautiful calligraphy and associated illustrations being done to “illuminate” Middle-Earth. Specifically, this is the work of a young German artist, Benjamin Harff, for his Edel-Silmarillion — a deluxe, hand-crafted edition of The Silmarillion. He made it for an exam before graduating art school, though he went above and beyond what was required. Sadly, it is a one-of-a-kind, and the Tolkien Estate has not responded to his inquiries about working with Harper-Collins to reproduce it (or even just getting their official blessing). At least, they hadn’t been in touch as of the time of the interview, which was (I think) in 2009.
Here’s the interview, which includes several more pics of Harff’s work on Edel-Silmarillion. If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll be able to get a copy ourselves next Christmas!