The final installment in The Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit, is due to hit theaters in December. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the publisher of the series, plans to mark the occasion. All 4 titles have been available as ebooks for some time now, but come December you’ll find them as an enhanced ebook app.
The app is being developed by Brandwidth (they did the Guinness World Record app), and it will come with a variety of features, including narration provided by Michael Dorn (who played Worf on Star Trek), an annotated bibliography, detailed source notes, as well as analysis from several leading scholars. You’ll also find a detailed glossary explaining the obscure terms and offering alternative definitions.
The feature I’m most looking forward to is Peter Jackson’s notebook. He studied the series extensively before shooting the first movie, and he even went back to the source material to get a better grasp of the true story. I’m told that you’ll find links to his notes from the relevant sections of text, and that they will offer insight into why the movies departed from the story in the books.
But do you know what’s even better than his notebook?
You’ll also have the option of reading it in the original Klingon, side by side with Tolkien’s translation. (That is why they hired Michael Dorn to do the narration.) The translation included some drastic rewriting, so the 2 texts don’t line up perfectly. But if you know how to read Klingon, it will be a real treat.
HMH even let me see an early sample of the text. It doesn’t include any of the more sophisticated features, but it is intriguing. You can see it at right.
Not many know this, but Tokien was only the translator of The Lord of The Rings; he didn’t write it. The original Klingon version of Lord of the Rings was written as an epic poem. It is incredibly old, and it’s in fact so old that the origin is shrouded in legend. But according to the Klingon Language Institute‘s best scholars, The Fall of K’Vada (one of several possible names) was originally conceived and recited in a single 41 hour sitting.
Well, the poet wasn’t sitting so much as he was bound hand and foot, hanging upside down over an active volcano. The name of the poet is lost to time, along with other details, but secondary sources have presented strong evidence that he started reciting the poem in order to delay his enemy from throwing him in the volcano.
And it worked. The villain was sufficiently intrigued by the poem that he listened for the full 41 hours, and when the poet was done, the villain let him go.
Or at least, that’s the story; I don’t know if it’s true or not.
In any case, the app is coming out in December. Look for it in iTunes.
P.S. Thanks to Blind Zebra for the Klingon Ipsum Generator.