Posts Tagged ‘J. R. R. Tolkien’

Release day is finally here!

ShadesofVirtue_medSHADES OF VIRTUE is now available on Kindle. For those interested in paperback, you will have to wait a little longer. However, advance autographed copies are available at my website http://www.jackwhitsel.com.

Release day is a special day for writers. After months of writing, rewriting, editing…and waiting, the day comes when your work is ready to be witnessed by the world. As excited as I am, there is always that feeling of nervousness and trepidation.

I want to thank all the souls who have been with me on this journey. Your kind words, patience, and overall support do not go unnoticed. For those new to the Dragon Rising Series…WELCOME! There is always room for you at our table.

Thanks again.

Oceans of love,


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imagesCAEL5ALOThe weekend of the Hobbit release has come and gone. Let me just come out of the gate by saying – I loved this film. Once again, Peter Jackson adds his magic touch to a Tolkien classic.  Was there creative licence? Of course. But the real treat for the die-hard Tolkien fans was the insertion of factoids from Tolkien’s Silmarillion. Like Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson cannot stay away from this book, and why should he? Silmarillion is the “everything you need to know about Middle-earth” compendium. I’m currently rereading this book, and I always discover something new about Tolkien’s world. That aside, An Unexpected Journey was a nice homecoming for some of the characters we adored in the Lord of the Rings saga. Bilbo, Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, & Gollum return as well as cameo appearances from other personalities. We are also  introduced to Thorin’s company of Dwarves and given an extensive background of Ereborn, with incredible imagery included. All in all,  Peter Jackson embraced the spirit of the book, and there is no reason to doubt he won’t dazzle us further. Seeing Tolkien’s world on the big screen again reminds me of the root of inspiration that put Shadows of Kings onto paper. Tolkien is the master, and there is no one  capable of  putting his genius on film other than Peter Jackson.


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English: Peter Jackson promoting the 2009 film...

English: Peter Jackson promoting the 2009 film District 9 at San Diego Comic-Con. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes…the title says it all. Three Hobbit movies instead of two according to the Huffington Post article by Joe Satran. In his article, he revealed that Peter Jackson announced his intention to split his vision of the Hobbit into three separate features.

The Hobbit Movie News also reported the movie being split into three segments. They wrote: Jackson dropped hints about this at Comic-Con, explaining he had a wealth of storytelling that came from 125 pages of appendices that JRR Tolkien included in a later publication of The Return Of The King, the final installment of The Lord Of The Rings.

Now for the aftermath.

There are mixed murmurings about the announcement. Some believe the decision was based solely out of greed, while others hold it’s the best path for Tolkien’s prequel to Lord of the Rings. Personally, I believe it’s both. And I see nothing wrong with making an extra buck, so long as the endeavor does not jeopardise the content. This is J R R Tolkien’s book and as far as I’m concerned, there is no room for error.

Another point to consider for splitting the movies is what was not in the forefront of the Hobbit. If you remember reading the Hobbit, Gandalf left Bilbo and the Dwarves from time to time, and returned during moments where things looked dire. But do you know why Gandalf left? I will not be the spoiler, but if you are a true Tolkien fan, then you know why, and perhaps Peter Jackson will be covering some of that storyline.

But let us first take a collective deep breath and slowly exhale. Afterall, we did trust Peter Jackson with The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and he in turn did not fail us. So, please refrain from pointing your butter soaked finger from the comfort of your movie seat, and let us give the Director a chance before we petition to have him hung by the entrails.

Oceans of Love,


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Hello, everyone! As this is my first post of the new year, I thought I would spice things up a bit. For starters, this week’s  topic deals with the more violent nature of contemporary fantasy.  And secondly, I have a surprise guest who will offer her insights on the matter.

There is no use mincing words. When it comes to fantasy, some of us like it rough. Recently, we have seen an emergence in the more gritty types of fantasy. The most prominent in the mainstream, and the focus for the sake of this article, is George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. As one of HBO’s new golden boys of cable, what we have enjoyed viewing on television has for the most part been accurately pulled from Martin’s A song of Ice and Fire saga. Beginning with Game of Thrones, we plunge into Martin’s Westeros, where we are introduced to numerous characters. The token black and white aspects of the hero and villain are replaced by characters whose actions are continuously shaded in hues of grey. Nobles use profanity, murder, conspire, and partake of wenching.  Hmmm…not  unlike the historical figures we have idolized throughout the centuries. And there, my beloved readers, is part of the appeal for this genre. It’s more than just fantasy…it’s an edge that at times reflects our darkest natures and mirrors our colorful past. And yes, we enjoy seeing victims run through. In a world inundated with video games, where you can destroy civilizations and shoot cops, I’m afraid the violent streak in fantasy is here to stay…for better or for worse.

In my opinion, what makes a saga such as A song of Ice and Fire work is balance. It has his violent moments, but they are skillfully sewn within the proper context of the story. Once again…BALANCE being the key attribute – a discipline I have tried to implement within my upcoming novel, Shadows of Kings. But my personal appeal for the darker side of fantasy does not in any way discount the work of writers who refrain from using vulgarity or excessive violence. After all, the Father of contemporary fantasy, J.R.R Tolkien, kept it at arm’s length when he wrote the Lord of the Rings. And speaking of Middle-Earth, that brings me to the introduction of my guest. And who better to speak in Tolkien’s absence, then one of his living relatives who also writes fantasy? Fellow viewers and subscribers, I’m pleased to introduce J.R.R. Tolkien’s great-great niece, Robin Lovejoy Tolkien – Author of Banshee in the Well.

Hello and thanks for welcoming me to JWhitsel.wordpress.com. I’m very much looking forward to the release of Shadows of Kings. I’m a middle grade fantasy author myself (that is, writing for the 8-13 age range) so obviously I have to be careful with the fight scenes – and adult scenes are of course a complete no-no. But this kind of brings things around in a circle, given that The Hobbit movie is to be released at the end of this year. The Hobbit novel itself, first published in 1937, was undoubtedly aimed at middle readers and indeed it was accepted for publication after the manuscript was read by Rayner Unwin, a ten-year-old relative of the owners of Allen & Unwin. Young Rayner concluded that The Hobbit ‘should appeal to children between the ages of 5 and 9.’  I doubt he would have said exactly that about The Fellowship of the Ring, first published in 1954. The Lord of the Rings is of course by far a more complex piece, and without doubt it contains what might be termed violent scenes, Helms’ Deep being but one example. But the most notable difference between Lord of the Rings and the works of modern fantasy writers such as George R R Martin is the presence of what we Brits euphemistically term ‘adult scenes.’ Would Lord of the Rings have been a better book had adult scenes been included? Of course not! But the world has moved on since 1954 and it’s only right that modern fantasy reflects the changing times. George R R Martin is without doubt a brilliant writer. The only thing I would say about some (lesser) modern fantasy writers is that there can be a tendency to overdo the adult scenes. In my view, high fantasy benefits from a bit of political allegory. Some writers seem to disagree and take the attitude: ‘forget the political intrigue, let’s have another sexual encounter.’ I can well understand why an author can get carried away with such scenes but as Jack says it’s a question of BALANCE – and I agree with him 100% on that. So best of luck, Jack, I’ll certainly be buying a copy of Shadow of Kings when it comes out!”

And that’s a wrap for my first article of the year. A big Yankee hug and thanks to Robin Lovejoy Tolkien, for taking the time to contribute her insight. And please grab her new release, Banshee in the Well. http://www.amazon.com/Banshee-in-the-Well-ebook/dp/B006S4ZP2K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1325503712&sr=8-1



Please visit Robin’s blog at http://sathra-bansheeinthewell.blogspot.com/

Until next time,


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Another update being brought to you by a true fan of Tolkien. Once again, this is composed of information compiled from various sites. This post features some of the cast.

Swedish actor Mikael Persbrandt, known for his leading “tough-guy” roles, spoke recently about playing the reclusive and heroic Beorn.In The Hobbit, Beorn is an immense brawny shapeshifter, who is vegetarian and lives in a wooden house between the Misty Mountains and Mirkwood on his own after the Orcs killed the rest of his race. Beorn can transform at will into a bear. (Excerpt from The Hobbit Movie)

Lost star Evangeline Lilly is the latest celebrity to join the cast of The Hobbit. The 31-year-old actress, who played Kate Austen in Lost, was in New Zealand to play Woodland Elf, Tauriel, as Peter Jackson announced on his Facebook page. He said, “Her name means ‘daughter of Mirkwood’ and, beyond that, we must leave you guessing!” (Peter Jackson’s Facebook Page)

 TheOneRing.net Description: Thorin Oakenshield’s story is one of great daring, pride, revenge, and tragedy. Thorin II hails from a direct royal lineage (the House of Durin) traceable all the way back to the original Seven Fathers of the Dwarves. His clan is also known as the Longbeards. Thorin’s early years at the Lonely Mountain (Erebor) give The Hobbit its foundational plot and all that happens therein comes from his efforts to avenge the wrongs against his House. At the age of 24, Thorin witnessed the arrival of the dragon Smaug and the slaying of his kin (T.A. 2770). The tragic memory was burned permanently into Thorin’s heart. Twenty-nine years later he fought valiantly against the Orcs beneath the East-gate of Moria at the Battle of Azanulbizar, where he earned the surname “Oakenshield” by using a great oak-branch in a pinch as both shield and weapon. Thorin is played by Richard Armitage.

Well…there you have it folks! I will leave you with some Middle-earth Trivia. When the alliance of Men and Elves fought Sauron, and cut the ring of power from Sauron’s hand – How long was the siege in Mordor?

Answer: Seven Years (source:Silmarillion)



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