Transmedia Franchise: LOTR

One of my favorite examples of a transmedia franchise would have to be J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

In recent years, this fantasy epic has completely exploded onto numerous genres. The continuity of this franchise is quite impressive. For instance, you have the three volumes (not including the prequel, The Hobbit)

Novel Coverswhich were adapted into three movies to cover each volume:

DVD covers

Which, in turn, were adapted into some questionable video games:


and one not at all questionable game:


Come on, admit it. The Lego video games are SO MUCH FUN.

There are also The Lord of the Rings: The Third AgeThe Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth, The Lord of the Rings: The Battle of Middle-earth II, and some more video games which I am probably missing. Not only does this franchise cover print text, film, and video games, but the number of platforms for which the games are available is absolutely ridiculous, as well. I think the video games work a lot in the “world building” aspect because you get to explore Middle-earth through a “first person” (it’s more third-person, but you get what I mean) perspective by playing the game.

As far as drillability, you have this lovely collection of works called The Silmarillion (aka The Book of Lost Tales) essentially the folklore and mythology of Middle Earth. If that isn’t enough, you can read The History of Middle-eartha 12-volume series relating to, well, the history of Middle Earth. Most recently, The Children of Húrin (2007)– hello, subjectivity– recounts the story of… Guess who?  Húrin’s children: Turin, Urwen, and Nienor. All of these were released posthumously by Tolkien’s son, Christopher.  Also, if you haven’t seen this meme:

MEMEYou’re simply missing out on the spreadibility train. Another example could be “MY PRECIOUSSSSSS!”

OH, and there’s this beautiful piece of “performance” which is currently collecting dust on my bookshelf:

bestiaryThe seriality, so far, is to achieve complete and total immersion into Middle-earth through multiple genres, perspectives, and history, but let’s face it. Sometimes we have rooms in our houses dedicated to swords, maps, cardboard cut outs, signed posters, chain mail, magical staffs and perhaps one or two stuffed Gollums (source: this room exists in my cousin’s house). Also, “extractability.”





Need I go on? Oh, and there’s this guy who built (“produced”) The Dark Tower (Eye of Sauron) out of Legos:

DarkTowerIf you weren’t aware, there are also NUMEROUS Lord of the Rings Lego sets. This one is not included, sorry.

LEGO-The-Lord-of-the-Rings-Box-Art-Shelob-Attacks-9470 LEGO-Lord-of-the-Rings-9476-The-Orc-Forge-Toysnbricks

To make yourself feel better, you can buy some pretty cool jewelry:thering


My birthday was April 23, if anyone is curious. I am still accepting gifts. Thank you.

I FORGOT TO MENTION the action figures and plushies  available!



The Lord of the Rings franchise has taken incredible advantage of transmedia  to the extent where Lord of the Rings is EVERYWHERE. They have expanded their market to the utmost extreme and any genre is an opportunity to exploit the franchise and make money. That sounded cynical, but I actually love buying stupid crap that in no way elevates my quality of life– arguably.

This franchise takes advantage of spreadability in all the cultural references (memes, etc.) and the catchphrases which are perpetuated from Gollum alone! Drillability can be obtained by reading The Silmarillian or The History of Middle-earth. The most remarkable part of the entire thing is the continuity of the ENTIRE franchise. It all works together to build this enormous idea that is LOTR. You can immerse yourself into the world by reading Tolkien produced fiction or fan-made fiction, and you can extract memorabilia to take home with you! You can experience the depth of world-building by immersing yourself in a video game and experiencing Middle-earth “first hand.” You can read novels depicting other perspectives (published by Christopher Tolkien) and bridge all of these serials together to pretend to yourself that Middle-earth is REAL. Or, if you want, you can decide to make your own LOTR inspired novels, bestiaries, Lego creations, armor, or whatever you feel like!

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