Posted by: Sally Ingraham | December 11, 2009

Blast from the Past: LOTR and Anke Eissmann


In a box that my mother recently sent home with me, I found these things. As I pulled each item out, I couldn’t help laughing. I’m still serious about my Tolkien love, but as a 17 and 18 year old, my LOTR fandom had reached it’s height. I liked to think of my interest as more scholarly than your average fan who came to Tolkien in those years through the movies. I had already read The Lord of the Rings twice, and the The Hobbit more often than that.

It was somewhat coincidental that my writing had entered a phase where I needed to craft a new language for my characters, and I turned to Tolkien for guidance. As the movies were being released and my love for the work was heightened by performances by Viggo Mortensen and Sean Austin, I returned to the book and read it slowly over months and months, taking extensive notes, mapping out secondary plot lines, etc. I read The Silmarillion with complete fascination and perused my Atlas of Middle-Earth looking for further clues.

I’m slightly less eager to be reminded of the countless hours I spent on a LOTR fan site where Tolkien’s world came to life, and while my own piece of fan-fiction was well researched and managed to avoid any downward spirals into Mary Sue-dom, it was incredibly important to me for over a year. As I unpacked that box and my replica of the one ring to rule them all turned up I think I grimaced a little.

I’m very pleased that I have that box of maps though – they’ll look so good on the walls of my someday library, right? The issue of The Rejected Quarterly is the oddest thing that I rediscovered while going through my stuff. I only have it because of the cover illustration, which is of Faramir and Sam and Frodo, and was painted by Anke Eissmann. I discovered her through that LOTR fan site and loved her work – all LOTR based artwork. I tracked down this publication because I couldn’t afford to commission an actual print!

Now, five years later, my Tolkien passion has cooled. It’s definitely time for a re-read, and I’m ecstatic about that atlas book since my love for maps is as strong as ever. I’ll probably tuck the ring replica away and try to forget about it…!

Beowulf and the DragonI was curious about what Anke Eissmann had been up to since I was in contact with her. Her website was still around and being regularly updated, and it turns out that she has kept busy with her art, and is getting her final project for Colchester Institute printed in book form by Walking Tree Publishers. She designed and illustrated her own version of Beowulf and the Dragon. Along with Old English verse, John Porter’s translation will be used for the English translation. It also has an introduction by Tolkien expert Tom Shippey. It is coming out hopefully the week before Christmas. I’m excited because yes, of course, I want one!

Thanks for the box of goodies Mom! 🙂


  1. You are very welcome!

  2. What a nice box of goodies. I confess I only read the first part of LOTR but I loved it! The movies were excellent as well.

  3. Mom – 🙂

    Mrs. B – I hope you find time to finish LOTR at some point. It’s worth it!

  4. How awesome is your mom! I have probably read The Silmarillion a lot more times than The Hobbit and LOTR. It’s my fave.

  5. What fun! It is such a treat to unpack a box and find those kind of memories. I’m thinking about a LOTR movie marathon over the holiday break, but maybe I should dig out the books.

  6. Email me your shipping address! You won SURVIVING PARADISE during the read-a-thon!!

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