LONDON – The best place to soak up the magic of The Lord of the Rings may not be on the big screen, but in the library.
The British Library is displaying a trove of Rings’ memorabilia, including the first illustrated edition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy and rare first edition copies of The Hobbit.
The exhibition also features some more unusual pieces, including a role-playing game and letters and notes from the imaginative author to his grandson.
In one letter, Tolkien talks of losing his privacy, having become an unwilling celebrity after his million-selling novels made him one of the world’s best known authors.
He complains that he will no longer be protected from “Hoopers, Snoopers, Goopers, press-gangs, phone-bugs and transatlantic lion hunters and gargoyle-fanciers.”
A British Library spokeswoman said:
“The letters show the affectionate family man that we do not glimpse in his fiction, and the books show how the stories have been illustrated before this big screen adaptation.”
The Fellowship of the Ring is the first of three films based on Tolkien’s Rings’ trilogy and will be released on December 19.
The Tolkien exhibition runs at the British Library in London until the end of January.