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Russian Lord of the Rings
May 27, 2010 2:06 PM   Subscribe

English Russia presents Lord of the Rings character illustrations from the USSR.

At the bottom of the post are clips from a Soviet low-budget “Hobbit” movie.
posted by gman (47 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
I love Bilbo's hairy black stockings.
posted by Mister_A at 2:09 PM on May 27, 2010


Those woodcuts are fucking great. But Bilbo with totally hairy legs is creepy.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 2:10 PM on May 27, 2010


The weird thing is how instead of the baleful eye of Sauron they just have a picture of Stalin.
posted by philip-random at 2:15 PM on May 27, 2010


I had that book! The Russian translation was a bit kiddie, which may explain why it hooked me at, like, age 7.
posted by eugenen at 2:15 PM on May 27, 2010


They look like characters from Samurai Jack
posted by Think_Long at 2:16 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Hobbit, not the Lord of the Rings. Gollum sure looks weird. These drawings remind me of the little mole, actually, more than anything (example - it's Czech, I think).

Xobbit, ili tuda i obratno!
posted by Michael Roberts at 2:20 PM on May 27, 2010


Also, if anyone has a copy of that full Russian Hobbit with subtitles, I will pay money. Not lots, but some.
posted by Think_Long at 2:21 PM on May 27, 2010


What was up with that creepy/stoned grinning Gandalf?
posted by sotonohito at 2:21 PM on May 27, 2010


This is great.
posted by BobbyDigital at 2:29 PM on May 27, 2010


RussianGollum in that last clip is fantastically strange and unthin.
posted by heyho at 2:31 PM on May 27, 2010


Wonderful! This so beats the pants off of Hollywood Action Movie Tolkien.
posted by JHarris at 2:40 PM on May 27, 2010


Look again, the tickets to that ring you love are now diamonds.
posted by clearly at 2:44 PM on May 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Aw, Smaug is adorable.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:45 PM on May 27, 2010


I had seen several of these, before, in The Annotated Hobbit edited by Douglas Anderson. It also contains illustrations from several other translations (as well as an abundance of genuinely interesting background material).
posted by vertigo25 at 2:56 PM on May 27, 2010


Also, if anyone has a copy of that full Russian Hobbit with subtitles, I will pay money. Not lots, but some.

From the Wiki page on Adaptations of The Hobbit, I think you're looking for a Soviet 1985 television play "The Adventure of the Hobbit" (Приключение Хоббита / Google auto-translation).

And here it is, all 64 minutes on YouKu.com, but without translation. I'll leave subs up to someone else. Go MetaFilter Detective Team!
posted by filthy light thief at 2:57 PM on May 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


Adeen, dva, tree, cheteeree, pyat. Yes, pyat armies.

Prob wrong somehow. Knows no Russian.
posted by Babblesort at 3:07 PM on May 27, 2010


English Russia is fantastic.
posted by klue at 3:09 PM on May 27, 2010


Look again, the tickets to that ring you love are now diamonds.

Well played.
posted by sourwookie at 3:11 PM on May 27, 2010


The illustrations are wonderful and English Russia is a wonderful blog.
posted by Anything at 3:30 PM on May 27, 2010


Can you guess all of the characters depicted here? The hint, the one on the cover is Bilbo.

And there is the question again - can you tell who is who in those?


I am unfamiliar with the English Russia blog... does it usually assume its readers are quite dull children?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:49 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Those are great. Sort of remind one of Mary Blair's work. Plus, I think it might be time to read the book again. How many times through will that make?

Re: Mary Blair. She's really good.
posted by Trochanter at 3:52 PM on May 27, 2010


These make perfect sense, given that the Hobbit is a story of the political awakening of a self-satisfied member of the bourgeoisie. The revolutionary activist Gandalf clarifies for Bilbo the depth of his own political alienation. Bilbo's political awakening leads him to reject the values of his class-position and to identify with the plight of the proletarian dwarves. His initial attitude toward the ring is one of rank commodity fetishism, but his political awakening is complete when he recognizes its use-value, faces down Smaug, the arch-oligarch, and sets off a proletarian revolution in the Lonely Mountain.
posted by felix betachat at 3:56 PM on May 27, 2010 [8 favorites]


What was up with that creepy/stoned grinning Gandalf?

Longbottom leaf.
posted by Alt F4 at 3:57 PM on May 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


We should submit these to the New Yorker for their caption contest.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 4:02 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Freakin' awesome!
posted by New England Cultist at 4:18 PM on May 27, 2010


I know it's stupid but everytime I see cyrillic writing I just can't help reading it as if it were latin...
Xobbns!
posted by Hairy Lobster at 4:20 PM on May 27, 2010


I love, love, love it when an artist makes a map. The third image was great.
posted by Ritchie at 4:25 PM on May 27, 2010


Love it. I'll never get enough of re-envisioned or obscure illustration sets.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:26 PM on May 27, 2010




These are beautiful! I especially love the map, Gollum, Smaug attacking the city in flames, and the battle scene about 4/5ths of the way down, with all the arrows. The different tones, lights and environments conveyed with just black and white shows how masterful this illustrator is. Does anybody know who it is, and can we find their other work? I'd pay money for prints by this person.
posted by Mizu at 4:59 PM on May 27, 2010


Love. Although I feel like the Gollum illustration accurately depicts my default spinal posture. (Except that I am totally prettier, kind of.)
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 5:04 PM on May 27, 2010


Neat.
posted by Atreides at 5:38 PM on May 27, 2010


Aw (from homunculus links), The Dwarves making music, Dwarves in armour.
posted by Free word order! at 6:05 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]




I don't know if we're having a contest for greatest post of the day or the week or whatever, but if we were, this would be a contender!
posted by marxchivist at 7:11 PM on May 27, 2010


In Soviet Russia, ring wears you!
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:06 PM on May 27, 2010


I had that book! The Russian translation was a bit kiddie, which may explain why it hooked me at, like, age 7.

I was just thinking the same thing! My Russian is super crummy, but I could read a good half of those pages, and I was wondering if the translation was a bit more geared toward young'uns than the original.

Also, I heart that Gollum.
posted by Amanojaku at 9:25 PM on May 27, 2010


Fantastic post!

What was up with that creepy/stoned grinning Gandalf?

Indeed - his character design struck me straight away as looking like a cross between a stoned pimp and Guy Fawkes . . .
posted by protorp at 11:00 PM on May 27, 2010


This is just super cool and I totally second the note on how awesome fictional cartography and now i'm not going to bed for another 20 minutes while I ogle these.
So thanks, I guess.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 12:06 AM on May 28, 2010


For anyone wondering about the hairy legs, the Russian words for "foot" and "leg" are usually translated as the same word, so seeing that, the illustrator probably thought it meant his whole leg was hairy. Funny how that works.
posted by cthuljew at 2:22 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


bootiful
posted by Jonesisdying at 5:36 AM on May 28, 2010


This really great, nice find.

Oh, and I was hoping to avoid this...the thread made it so far...

> In Soviet Russia, ring wears you!

How is this funny? There's no play on words at all. Can we please kill this meme? It wasn't funny 20 years ago, and it isn't funny now.
posted by sidereal at 6:20 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


So charming and funny. I like the bird on his foot. The stuff of childhood nightmares. English Russia rocks, it's consistently one of my favorite places on the web.
posted by nickyskye at 7:55 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Хоббит! Ну, погоди!

(don't speak Russian, but it's the first thing I thought of)
posted by tigrrrlily at 8:03 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]




Boy, I don't know, there's some kind of recent Russian version of the Hobbit in our library here (Baltimore County Public Library, Pikesville branch) and the illustrations are really hallucinatory, and mnoga awesome. I don't know the illustrator though. I'll try to look it up the next time I get there and bring the name back to this thread (probably be after Memorial Day though.)
posted by newdaddy at 5:19 PM on May 28, 2010




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