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Opinion

Does anyone really want to collect pieces of Tolkien’s house?

11.10.08 | Kunochan | 4 Comments

There’s certainly nothing wrong with collecting Tolkienana. I’m guilty of it myself. I collect different editions of LOTR, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion. I have an Icelandic edition of The Hobbit that I bought in Reykjavik, and a set of first day of issue Tolkien stamps from the UK. (I also have a bunch of movie figures, including a talking Sauron and a talking Treebeard.)

It’s a tiny collection, compared to some. A lack of money has kept me from building a real collection — not of movie stuff or sword replicas, but of signed or rare volumes. Yet I perfectly understand the impulse to buy a bunch of Tolkien crap.

But seriously, what is up with this Woodridings deal?

Woodridings is the bungalow Tolkien bought in 1968, in an effort to avoid fans who disturbed him in Oxford. Now it’s being demolished, and someone has decided we in the Tolkien fan community would love to own refuse from the site, like this lovely postcard received by Tolkien in 1968, and found behind the fireplace. It wasn’t written or signed by Tolkien. It was sent to him by someone named “Lin,” who might — might— be fantasy author Lin Carter, who wrote A Look Behind the Lord of the Rings. If so, that’s very exciting for Lin Carter fans. But since it’s a personal note discussing the beauty of the countryside, it’s hardly of any interest fans of the Legendarium, or even to those who research Tolkien’s life.

In other words, it’s trash left behind in an old house. And yet:

…the Tolkien Library had offered 500,000 US dollars (£253,186) for the postcard and the fireplace.

Really?

Now they’re ripping up the house and selling off the pieces. Of the house. Like they’re relics, and the proximity of this random piece of wood or rock has somehow been magically imbued with a Tolkienian essence. What’s next, finger bones?

You know who else would be flabbergasted that people want to pay good money for pieces of Tolkien’s house? Here’s a hint:

JRR Tolkien

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