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In his review of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, David Bratman makes the astute observation that the title of the film goes unexplained. Unless the extended edition changes this when it’s released – presumably in November 2015 – viewers will have to decide for themselves which groups Peter Jackson considered one of the five armies.1

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I won’t defile this space with my review of Hobbit III. But I will link to it.

SPOILER ALERT

What follows is a selection of excerpts from some of the major press reviews on the opening day of the final Hobbit film.

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November 2014

Well, I’m back …
After a hiatus of three months, I return with the Tolkien Transactions for the month of November 2014. This means that I have skipped the transactions for August through October, except for the few bits that I had prepared before I got too busy, and the few bits that are too good to miss out on 🙂

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The publication of Scull and Hammond’s expanded edition of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil basically completes the set of publications of drafts and associated papers, and annotated editions, of all of Tolkien’s books published during his lifetime. (What’s come out posthumously is all “drafts” in a sense.) Omitting his purely technical publications, only “Leaf by Niggle” and a few miscellaneous poems remain unpublished in this format. I thought it might be useful to have a bibliography of these items, so here are all the ones published in book form, with The Silmarillion also treated in this format.

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One of the most frequent requests I receive from fans of Tolkien and Middle-earth is to speculate on what The Silmarillion might have looked like, “had Tolkien finished it”. This is a really popular topic. I have stumbled across more than one attempt to produce a (pseudo)-canonical Silmarillion text through the years. Canonical contrivances always lead into the Valley of Canonical Collisions. There is no canon, and everyone has their own idea of what should be canon. The problem is of such universal proportions that the Vulcans have a saying: “Only J.R.R. Tolkien can write a canonical Silmarillion; everything else is fan fiction.”

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