Tag Archives: hobbit related books

Yet another Hobbity must-have for me.

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Just when I thought I’d stopped buying anything Hobbit-related, Cathy at Twitter alerted me to the latest book offered by Weta. It won’t release til next spring, but you can now pre-order it at Amazon. Which I just did. *sigh* Resistance is futile . . . and look at the pretty blue cover on this one, with Thorin’s lovely mug on it, too!

 

Courtesy of Weta

Courtesy of Weta

Here’s what the folks at Weta have to say about it:

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles, Creatures & Characters

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles, Creatures & Characters explores the amazing cast of heroes and villains, beasts and beings that populate Middle-earth in the first chapter of Peter Jackson’s film adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Richly illustrated with behind-the-scenes photographs, digital renders and film stills, this comprehensive book goes species by species, character by character, through the film’s huge ensemble of characters and bustling menagerie of creatures, both physical and digital, telling the stories of how each came to be realized for the film.

In first-hand quotes from the actors, make-up artists, digital effects artists, dialect coaches, prosthetics technicians, movement coach and many other crew, the stories of the production unfold, processes are described and insights into characters shared.

As a bonus feature, unique to this book, there is a special fold-out Character Size Chart, which compares all the major creatures and characters of the film, from Radagast’s hedgehog friend to the towering Stone Giants!

Compiled by Weta Workshop designer Daniel Falconer, and featuring a wealth of stunning imagery, this book puts the reader face to face with the Dwarf heroes of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the dark denizens of Middle-earth, such as Orcs, Goblins, Trolls and Wargs, and of course, the hobbit himself, Bilbo Baggins.”

 

I already own the wonderful first book in this series, Chronicles: Art & Design, now available through Amazon and carrying a well-deserved five-star rating. I have read more of it since seeing the film, and it makes me want to see the film again (as if I didn’t want to already) to take closer note of some of the details mapped out in the volume.  I never feel guilty about investing in books. Like Richard, they are the gift that keeping on giving.

If you haven’t purchased it yet–you’ll want to.

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I’m taking about The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyChronicles: Art & Design by Daniel Falconer. This beautiful 200-page book  from Weta Workshop was just released today and, having pre-ordered it from Amazon, my friendly Fed Ex lady delivered it to my doorstep a little earlier.  Squee!

And “beautiful” is no exaggeration. The sturdy cover, embossed in gold, has the look of fine leather, with a reproduction of Thorin’s map ready to fold out inside the front cover, and Bilbo’s contract with the Company inside the back cover.

The book is chock-full of conceptual art for the film, from the furnishings for Bag End to the environs of Goblin-town, done in detailed pencil sketches and vibrant watercolors. We see the development of the costumes, hair, beards, weaponry, accoutrements and more for the cast of characters, along with descriptions from costume designer Ann Maskrey and many others instrumental in creating the amazing world of Middle-Earth.

I still don’t have a scanner here, so I tried to take a new photos of some of the pages I thought would most interest you: the ones about Thorin, of course.

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From the Chronicles, artwork depicting concepts for Thorin’s look. On the right, Thorin’s “oakenshield,” an addition envisioned by Richard.

I even found a snippet written by a certain fellow you might know of–

Thorin receives the name Oakenshield when he is younger, when finding himself without a shield in the middle of the dreadful battle, he breaks a branch off a tree and fights with it on his arm. I thought it would be nice to bring something of the past into what was happening now: he might have kept and nurtured this chunk of oak that had saved his life and perhaps honed it into something else. I made a sketch of it, like a branch that had been hollowed to become something like a vambrace with prongs, which I showed to Peter and he liked the idea of it.

Richard Taylor picked it up and we went through a development of the idea. It briefly had a fist-like end with nails on it, but it started to look Orcish so we pulled back from that to give it a Dwarvish feel.

Richard Armitage, Actor, Thorin

(In case you are wondering what a vambrace is, it’s a “forearm guard worn as part of a suit of plate armour.” Yeah, I had to look it up. Who says Richarding isn’t educational?)

Here’s some of Thorin’s gear:

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And guess who else is featured in the book? Yup, young Thorin.  Sadly, I believe the concept image of a bare-chested, sweaty young Thorin working as a blacksmith was simply done as a request. They ended up sticking a shirt on him (shades of Guy!). “I think this one was done for the ladies,” said the artist, Gus Hunter. Oh, yeah . . .

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And here’s a passage from another page on young Thorin:

We see Thorin as a young prince in a time before Smaug’s coming. Initially we offered suggestions that were quite princely, but it became clear that Peter, Fran and Philippa really wanted him to contrast with the pompous grandeur of the scene and be much more of an understated hero. My immediate reference of choice for that was Aragorn. I worked up ideas to suggest he’s just come back from a hunt and is dressed in functional leathers.  It’s interesting that little things such as shortening his hair or raising his crotch-line, all make Thorin look younger: little tricks that convey a sense of youth.

(Raising his crotch-line? Oh, never mind . . .)

This is just a small sampling of the treasures to be found within the pages of this book (trying to avoid spoilers here), in what promises to be a series of  such volumes from Weta Workshop on the trilogy.  Why, you even get a glimpse of lady dwarves complete with varying degrees of hirsuteness!

It’s wonderful to see the creative efforts of all these talented people spotlighted in such a handsome volume.  You can order the book ( retails for $39.99, $26.39 through Amazon) and use RANet’s portal for a portion of the sale to go to Richard’s Just Giving charities. It really would make a fabulous gift for any Hobbit fan (including yourself).

And now, back to salivating over that picture of half-naked young Thorin working up a sweat . . . oops, did I type that out loud?