I'm so annoyed that they're calling the new hobbit game 'A The Lord of the Rings Game'

Tales of the Shire
(Image credit: Wētā Workshop)

English is a quirky language, but what they've done with the title for the new hobbit game can't be blamed on zany grammar rules. It's a sin that's been committed in the name of branding—a terrible sin.

The full title of Wētā Workshop's upcoming cozy hobbit life sim is: "Tales of the Shire: A The Lord of The Rings Game."

The crime is so heinous that the unconscious mind sometimes edits it out, so here's that last bit again: "A The Lord of The Rings Game."

I admit that writers are prone to indulging in theatrically strong opinions about language that other people are correct not to give a crap about, and yeah, I have at times taken pleasure in being pointlessly dogmatic about the meaning of the word "comprise." I considered that reacting to this felony article usage with anything more than a shrug might just be an affectation, but every time I see it again, I become re-convinced that I can't be the only one repulsed by "A The."

I don't think I've ever seen the rule being broken here spelled out—to state it awkwardly, when an article is followed by a title that starts with an article, omit the article from the title (or perhaps more broadly, omit the title's article when the title is used as a modifier)—but only because it doesn't normally need to be. I've never met anyone who goes around saying things like "a The Matrix movie" or "the The Godfather DVD." 

I can't believe anyone would subtitle their game "A The Lord of the Rings game" unless their arm were twisted, so I think it must be the case that someone to do with the Lord of the Rings trademark (or "the The Lord of the Rings trademark," I should say) insisted that the "the" be retained.

I actually omitted a trademark symbol when I reproduced the title above, so, to be totally accurate, the full title of the game on Steam is: Tales of the Shire: A The Lord of The Rings™ Game. What depravity! (The game looks cool though.)

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.