We are honoured and delighted to reveal the original cover art for Friendship in The Lord of the Rings, by Cristina Casagrande, created by Tolkien artist Jay Johnstone!
Most people are familiar with Jay Johnstone's Tolkien art: his work is striking and recognisible, taking inspiration from Byzantine iconography to the work of Gustave Klimt.
The painting is called "The Days of the King", and I can tell you that... *drumroll* ... it is part of a triptych! I am very much looking forward to see what the full work will look like, and for now, I shall explore every corner of this gorgeous painting. Jay's art is always full of details, and it's a joy finding them throughout.
The book will be released March 15th 2022, and pre-orders will open mid January.
About the Artist
Jay made his debut with his Tolkien inspired work in 2012 exhibiting at Return of the Ring. This was the largest ever Tolkien conference, held at Loughborough University and organised by The Tolkien Society. His unique and fresh approach to Middle-earth astounded everyone and from there he has exhibited globally. He was artist guest of honour at 2014 TheOneRing.net Oscar party in LA supporting Peter Jackson and the nomination for The Hobbit. He lectures frequently on his artwork, inspiration and techniques at the Tolkien Society annual meeting Oxonmoot in Oxford, most recently in 2021 sharing his passion and knowledge on the works of Pauline Baynes.
You can see more of Jay's work on his official website.
Cristina's original book came out in Brazil in 2019, A Amizade em ‘O Senhor dos Anéis’ , published by Martin Claret. And if you would like to read the book in its original language, you can find it on the publisher's website.
About the Book
Cristina says: "It draws our attention the fact that a work like The Lord of The Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien, involves not only a single hero, but many characters with a common goal: the destruction of the Ring of Power. They connect with each other and reveal feelings we find day by day in our lives journey: they become friends. This project aims, therefore, to analyse how friendship in the Tolkienian work collaborates for the characters’ development, as well as it contributes for the success of their final goal.
To achieve this, we will take as theoretical basis the book Nicomachean Ethics, by Aristotle, a work that essentially proposes to study happiness, in other words, the ultimate purpose of man (eudaimonia). By annihilating the Ring, the Tolkienian saga heroes achieve their great desire, and what happens then is what Tolkien calls the happy ending (eucatastrophe), which is essential to fairy stories.
Still within the Aristotelian line of thought, friendship would be both a symptom of a human being’s happiness and a requirement to reach this full achievement. Since Tolkien’s imaginary understanding is based on, among other issues, the religious mindset, we will take theology as support, especially Summa Theologica, by Thomas Aquinas, by seeing, in friendship, a direct association with the Christian charity.
Since we understand that, in our present days, the centrality of the book allows other artistic productions, we will also base this study on The Lord of The Rings movie adaptations, directed by the New Zealander filmmaker Peter Jackson. Such comparative analysis aims to bring more elements to the study of friendship in Tolkien’s narrative, since the contemporary man, especially the young one, shows an increasing interest in the audiovisual universe, often starting with it and then moving on to literature. We believe that this is a timely project, since both the book and the movies in question involve and fascinate their readers and spectators, contributing to the development of their ethical thinking and character, acting as a reference to many fantasy gender works, in many platforms.
This study of friendship in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings sprang from the desire of producing a work guided by ethical and noble principles. It was also of great importance that this book had a practical and edifying application in any person’s life.
Tolkien’s works provide many opportunities for that: not only are they attractive and deep, but also bring extremely necessary values for our happiness. Friendship in The Lord of the Rings shows how friendship is essential for us to win the battles of our lives, whether the ones we have against ourselves or the political war against an enemy, as Tolkien himself puts in his magnificent work."
About the Author
Cristina Casagrande has a degree in Journalism and Languages. She is the author of A Amizade em ‘O Senhor dos Anéis’ [Friendship in The Lord of the Rings] (São Paulo: Martin Claret, 2019), a product of her master’s thesis defended in 2018, and she works for HarperCollins Brasil in some editorial projects related to J.R.R. Tolkien, such as translations of "Mr. Bliss" and "Letters from Father Christmas". She is currently pursuing her PhD degree in Comparative Literature, studying Tolkien and Philosophy. She researches fantasy, myth, and fairy-stories at the University of São Paulo, where she organized the exhibition “De Volta Outra Vez: 80 anos de O Hobbit” [Back Again: 80 years of The Hobbit] (2017); and the courses “A Subcriação de Mundos: Estudos sobre a Literatura de J.R.R. Tolkien” [The Subcreation of Worlds: Studies on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Literature] (2018), from which sprang the e-book with the same title in 2019, and "The Posthumous Works of J.R.R. Tolkien: A Tribute to Christopher" (2020). She is the administrator of the website tolkienista.com and organizes the Group of Mythopoetic Studies, a subgroup of research in literature and children’s and youth cultural production, directed by Professor Maria Zilda da Cunha.
About the Translator
Eduardo Boheme Kumamoto is Brazilian and holds a BA degree in English and Portuguese from the University of São Paulo and an MPhil degree in Literary Translation from Trinity College Dublin. He is passionate about J.R.R. Tolkien’s literature and is particularly interested in aspects of translation and calligraphy in his works.
Friendship in The Lord of the Rings will be released in 2022.