Wednesday, October 09, 2002
Douglas Anderson In Salt Lake Report - Xoanon @ 10:00 PST
Douglas A. Anderson presented a slide presentation and lecture concerning his book The Annotated Hobbit by J.R.R.Tolkien tonight to an audience of 100 enthusiastic readers at Borders Books in Salt Lake City. Mr. Anderson is a man with a mountain of knowledge inside that he almost canít get out fast enough. He spoke off the cuff for about an hour as he showed slides of illustrations from the book. Many of the slides were from well known illustraters such as Tim Kirk, Alan Lee and John Howe but there were other fascinating ones from editions of the Hobbit around the world. A Russian illustration of a hobbit with hair all the way up his legs because in everyday Russian there is no word to differentiate between leg and foot. There were some Swedish illustrations that Tolkien originally called "frightening", some from Portugal that he described as "foul".

My particular favorites were the picture of Bilbo, by Tolkien no less, wherein he is wearing boots which he apparently got in Rivendel although Tolkien never corrected the text, and the post card from which Tolkien got the idea for Gandalf. There is also an amazing photograph of a scene in the Swiss Alps that could be the prototype for Rivendel. All these examples and many more are included in The Annotated Hobbit.

Mr. Anderson is shows his excitement about his subject and the audience was right with him throughout. At the Q&A session afterward he told more stories about his future plans to work with some of Tolkienís unpublished poetry. He also said some colleagues were working on an Annotated version of Lord of the Rings. He talked more about C.S.Lewis and the inklings, and Tolkiens expertise with Beowulf. He seemed comfortable talking about his subject and the audience was interested and attentive. It was a good evening and well worth the trouble of seeing him in other cities if you get the chance.

He wore a ring on a chain around his neck and I found myself wondering if that was an affectation that he used during his presentations. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Borders had given him the ring as a gift. It was from the Badali Jewelry Specialties, Inc. in Layton Utah who have the rights to make the "ring" inscribed with the markings of Mordor. Borders is also planning several events on November 6th when many of the Houghten Mifflin tie-in books will be released for The Two Towers.

As for my own experience, I went alone but when the Q&A session started I found that my old roommate was there as well. I didnít buy a book (couldnít afford it right now) but fifteen minutes after I got home the same roommate was on my doorstep with a copy that was autographed with a lovely little compliment about the questions I asked. Thanks Doug. Thanks to my friend. Nice evening.