Under the Mallorn Tree with Elbren – Bobble Heads of Middle Earth

by Nov 12, 2003Lord of the Rings (Movies)

Bobble heads of King Theoden, Gandalf, Aragorn….Eru in heaven!….even bobble heads of the Hobbits, Gimli, and Saruman.

I kid you not. They are available in the Official New Line Cinema Studio Store for about $14.95 USD.

For once, I am at a loss of words as to how to comment on this discovery. I am appalled and can honestly say that not only will I not be purchasing the *cough* bobbleheads, if I receive any as gifts, (and yes, if my mother sees these, she will think that it’s a great gift to buy for me), I am NOT putting them on display anywhere.  In fact, I might just sacrifice them to Aule with my trusty set of metalsmithing hammers.

I’ve made fun of myself quite often at how New Line is totally taking advantage of me (and folks like me) by allowing licensing on just about every kind of LOTR related merchandise that you can imagine. Some of the items are indeed very, VERY cool, (swords, helmets, leather backpacks, journals), and yes, I own my own fair share of said items.


For me, as a longtime Tolkien fan and worshipper of the demi god, JRR Tolkien, a line has now been crossed.

No, I’m not going to rant about how New Line has allowed licensing for bobbleheads and Barbie dolls, because we all have a choice here of whether or not to buy these…things….and…..*cough*…..there are, I would imagine, some folks out there who will purchase LOTR bobbleheads. They may even display them in their house. Car. Office.

But for me, something clicked and clicked rather loudly when I laid eyes upon these bobbleheads last eve. If you can imagine, I was outraged, humoured, and dumbfounded all within about a three second period of time. Then I was very confused and decided that maybe I just needed to sleep on it.

So, after a good night’s sleep, I now find that my view of the LOTR bobbleheads has evolved into dark humour. Very funny, New Line. How absurdly humourous that you’ve allowed our beloved LOTR characters to have oversized, bobbing heads. Ha. Ha.

So, it’s official now (at least to me): NOTHING, according to New Line, is sacred in JRR Tolkien’s beloved mythology of Middle Earth anymore. Nothing.

Yes, there are still some really nice licensed LOTR products available, and yes, the absurd items are few and far between. For now.

But, really, how far will all of this go? Dare I even ask? Longtime Tolkien fans have had some very large pills to swallow since the Peter Jackson films began to be released; some of us have choked while others are still working on the “getting larger by the day” pile of said pills.

Oh, I know, just get over it, (really, can movie fans not come up with a better response than that one? It truly is getting a bit overused.)

Ah, there IS the “Don’t take this so seriously.” Okay, I’ll address that one:

How can I NOT take this seriously when my idol, my beloved JRR Tolkien most certainly DID take matters of this sort VERY seriously? One need only get a copy of the book, The Letters of JRR Tolkien, and one will see how meticulous and detailed Tolkien was with fan and peer inquiries regarding any aspect of his Middle Earth tales. Yes, you could say that Tolkien was emphatic about the details of his writings, and yes, he took his writings VERY seriously!

For instance, let’s see what Tolkien himself had to say about a particular script adaptation in a letter to Terence Tiller, 6 November 1956

“…..as a private conversation between you and me, I could wish you had perhaps time to spare to tell me WHY this sort of treatment is accorded to the book, and what value it has–on Third…..the text is (necessarily in the space) reduced to such simple, even simple-minded, terms that I find it hard to believe it wold hold the attention of the Third….here is a book very unsuitable for dramatic or semi-dramatic representation….”

To Naomi Mitchison, 25 April 1954

“….I like things worked out in detail myself, and answers provided to all reasonable questions…”

To Forrest J. Ackerman, June 1958, regarding the proposed film ‘treatment’ of LOTR by Zuckerman

“…they may be irritated or aggrieved by the tone of many of my criticisms….But I would ask them to make an effort of imagination sufficient to understand the irritation (and on occasion the resentment) of an author, who finds, increasingly as he proceeds, his work treated as it would seem carelessly in general, and in places recklessly, and with no evident signs of any appreciation of what it is all about…”

I really shouldn’t have to continue. Shall we all agree that JRR Tolkien took all matters related to his beloved writings VERY seriously?

Oh, I have to include one more from Professor Tolkien:

“The canons of narrative art in any medium cannot be wholly different;and the failure of poor films is often precisely in exaggeration, and in the intrusion of unwarranted matter owing to not perceiving where the core of the original lies”.
JRR Tolkien, Letter 210

I shall do no less , then; indeed, I feel, as a Tolkien fan, obligated to defend his own stated views and opinions.

Does that mean I should begin preaching of the evils of purchasing LOTR bobbleheads?

No, as I said, it’s your money; if you want them, you should have no trouble getting them. Enjoy.

What it DOES mean, for me, is that I must acknowledge that I am now in a new minority group: Tolkien Purists. Yes, I honestly feel, based on the last two years of being quite aware of the LOTR tidal wave, that Purists, those that hold the words of JRR Tolkien as hallowed and sacred, are now outnumbered. I fear that within the next six months to a year, we will be vastly outnumbered.

So I make this promise to you, Professor Tolkien, I will continue to heed your own words and take into account how YOU would feel about such matters before I take action. Would JRR Tolkien purchase a LOTR Bobblehead? Uhh….no. Would he accept the gift of a LOTR bobblehead? Yes, of course, with a grimace and then hide it away somewhere well out of sight and mind.

I suspect that the Museum of Michel Delving will need to enlarge their Mathom Room and storage area. And soon.



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