Saturday, October 22, 2005

Ring 4??

"I notice that one of the television stations is airing two of the Lord of the Rings movies this week", commented Kay.

"Yes, that's right" I agreed.

"Does that mean there's a new movie coming out?" she said artlessly. "It's usually something like that when they do this sort of thing."

I paused before answering; I always forget that Kay knows absolutely nothing about Tolkien. (She tried to read The Hobbit once and couldn't even get halfway.) "No," I said "I can guarantee that there is not a new Lord of the Rings movie being released. In fact I'm almost certain there will never be a fourth movie in the series!"

Away in dreamland this morning, making it very difficult to re-enter the real world.

I had to get up early this morning and while it was a bit earlier than I had planned to get up, it was too late to go back to bed and fall asleep again -- that always makes me feel dreadful.

So I compromised by sitting in the recliner out in the back of the house and pulling a blanket over me. While I was resting, I nodded off for a few minutes and had a series of short nbut incredibly vivid dreams. It was one of those dream states where everything was so sharp and clear, so much more colourful and vibrant than anything else.

When I opened my eyes a few minutes later I was exhausted rather than refreshed, and spent about half an hour just sitting there gathering my strength to get out of the chair.

So much for the modern theory of the "power nap".

Princess Mary's safe delivery of a little prince in Denmark was the occasion for wide-spread rejoicing here in her home state. Celebrations at the Hobart waterfront this week included a bonfire and a fireworks display plus entertainment by the Derwent Valley Concert Band who had travelled to Copenhagen for the royal wedding.

"God bless them" is all I can add.

I stumbled across yet another Old Time Radio website where you can download old programmes in MP3 format.

OTR Fan is free but they welcome donations.

Well worth a look to see what programmes are up this week. This afternoon I listened to an 1948 episode of Let George Do It, a private eye show I hadn't previously heard.

USA TODAY reports that "the movie version of 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' won't be out until Dec. 9, but dozens of books already are spilling out of the cupboard."

"Sales since the Wardrobe movie trailer was released in May are three to four times more than last year at this time," says Beth Bingham of Borders bookstores. She expects the movie's release date to drive holiday sales even more.

Borders and other stores across America are prominently displaying the books. and have set up special Narnia stores on their sites.

Wardrobe, written by theologian C.S. Lewis and first published in 1950, is part of the seven-book Chronicles of Narnia series and tells the story of four children who help the lion Aslan release the frozen, other-worldly land of Narnia from the White Witch's spell. Aslan is regarded by many readers as the allegorical Christ — but bookstores, for the most part, are sidestepping the question.

Joe Monti, a book buyer for Barnes & Noble, agrees that Chronicles "has this whole Christian level to it." But, he adds, "the fantasy elements resonate on so many different levels. Who doesn't want to step into another world?"

HarperCollins, which is the exclusive English-language publisher of Lewis' works worldwide, says it is not targeting Christian buyers.

"Our position has been and always has been to publish Chronicles to the broadest possible market and leave any interpretation to the reader," says Toni Markiet of HarperCollins.

And the market certainly appears broad. HarperCollins Children's Books has 25 movie tie-in products, including books, audiobooks and coloring and activity books. HarperCollins publishes 170 titles by or about Lewis; 140 are on or about Narnia. Other publishers are hoping to take advantage of Lewis' growing popularity by releasing biographies, guides and analytical works. One of the new entries: 'Jack's Life: The Life Story of C.S. Lewis, written by his stepson, Douglas Gresham.

Lewis published about 50 books, including such theological mainstays as Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters. But it was The Chronicles of Narnia that made him famous — just as The Lord of the Rings brought renown to his friend and contemporary J.R.R. Tolkien.

"Certain movies, like Lord of the Rings, do send people back to the books," says Charlotte Abbott of Publishers Weekly "For a lot of people, this is a touchstone for a generation. I imagine many people in their 30s will buy the books, especially box sets, as gifts for their children."

I guess we'll get tired of the non-stop merchandising of the Wardrobe movie/book/whatever when it hits here, but I suppose we should be glad that new readers will discover the books, even though the cause is the crass commercialisation of Hollywood businessmen.


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