The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Warner Bros

An Unexpected Journey, Peter Jacksons first installment of The Hobbit trilogy, is still almost a month away.

You can't wait. Neither can we.

So how best to mark the time? Here are five things to check out between now and Dec. 14 to satiate your inner Middle-earthling.

The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins' house, LEGO


1. One Brick to Rule Them All: Lego meets The Hobbit for some pure awesomeness. The young'uns will love constructing and playing the memory-matching game. But E! Online staffers older kids will spend hours assembling Casa Frodo in the Unexpected Journey set or recreating one of the film's key conflicts in The Goblin King Battle. Sets range in price from $10 to $120 at and major toy retailers.

Lord of the Rings, Two Towers, Gollum

New Line Cinema

2. Oh Lordy! Immerse yourself in the glorious 15-disc Blu-ray, extended edition versions of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and reacquaint yourself with Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf, Gollum, Elrond, Galadriel, Legolas—all of whom appear in the upcoming Hobbit movies. The newly spiffed-up discs feature HD visuals and tons of bonuses, including documentaries, commentary, easter eggs and digital copies of each of the three films. The collection can be had for $100 at Amazon.

LEGO, The Lord of the Ring


And speaking of Legos and LOTR, Warner Bros. and the brickmeisters have teamed up for the breathtaking Lego The Lord of the Rings: The Video Game. Take on 60 playable characters in an open-world format with voices, sound effects and minifig-ized cut scenes from Jackson's film saga in what might be the most epic Lego-based video game ever. Available on most major platforms for $40-$50.

3. Old (and Older) School: Jackson's not the first to get his paws on the project. We have fond memories of the classic 1977 Rankin/Bass animated version, which gives a CliffsNotes spin on Bilbo's Smaug-hunting escapades complete with a groovy folk-infused soundtrack. We dare you to make it through without getting "The Greatest Adventure" stuck in your head for days. And if cartoons aren't your thing, check out the seminal BBC Radio adaptation from 1968. The accents might be tough to decipher at first, but once the narrative gets rolling, it's thoroughly engrossing—perfect for that long road trip to grandmother's house for turkey dinner. The cartoon is out of print but can be found through eBay and Amazon resellers. The five-disc radio play is widely available for about $25.

Hobbit action figures


4. Barbie, Schmarbie: The detailed movie-inspired 3.75- and 6-inch action figures from Bridge Direct come in solo and multipacks. All the major characters are represented, among them Bilbo, Gandalf, Gollum, Thorin and the dwarves, Legolas and even Evangeline Lilly's made-for-the-movie elf, Tauriel. Our favorite: the Orc-warg combo pack, guaranteed to freak out any Disney princess in the toy bin. Available at Toys "R" Us, Amazon and Entertainment Earth for $10-$30.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Warner Bros. Pictures

5. Outsmart Gollum: You can play riddles in the dark against the slimy one on the film's website, There're also trivia quizzes, film publicity stills, recipes (Gimli's gravy gobo, anyone?) and a link to the tie-in app, which has behind-the-scenes video clips, excerpts from Jackson's production journal, maps and info on all the characters. While you're cruising the interwebs, you can also give a listen to Neil Finn's haunting "Song of the Lonely Mountain" from the film.

Still not enough to get your Hobbit fix? Well, you can always go straight to the source material and grab that dog-eared copy of J.R.R. Tolkien's book off your shelf.

Take your time, we still have a long four weeks to go.

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