Tolkien News

Artist’s Real-Earth Quest Eludes Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Have you ever felt as if you’re in the Shire while sitting in your garden? Or suddenly understood how strenuous Frodo’s journey to Mordor must have been, every time you get up far too early in the morning in order to go to work? I think that most of us had the feeling as if we’re in Middle-earth one time or another. So it is not surprising that the artist William Puck, a pseudonym, felt  as if he was on his way to Mordor aboard the R train to Brooklyn during an exhausting winter day.

While most of us just continue to proceed with our daily lives, William Puck, a self-proclaimed “serious but less-than-obsessed [LOTR] fan”, went one step further. He created “posters and would-be service announcements that resemble the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s in every detail but one: they are all about The Lord of the Rings.” (



For your savety: avoid the Watcher in the water” and “Avoid the Crebain from Dunland” are just a few examples. Actually, William Puck created even a “Middle Earth Card”, a fake MetroCard that looks very similar to the real one. And for those that happen to head off to their own unexpected adventure, but don’t understand Westron, Mr. Puck was considerate enough to provide Elvish and Dwarvish translations of his posters as well.

Due to this resemblace to real announcements of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the MetroCard, William Puck choses to remain untraceable. The New York Times explains: “Under New York City Transit rules, no one is allowed to post signs, posters or other notices without the authority’s permission. Doing so subjects an offender to up to 10 days in jail and possible fines.”

In case someone wants to explore the New York subway system, Mr. Puck provides on his homepage photos with detailed address descriptions. 

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