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SYFY WIRE The Lord of the Rings

Want to type in Middle-earth? New LOTR-themed keyboards come in Elvish & Dwarvish languages

Not one, but two Tolkien-ized mechanical keycap sets to rule them all.

By Benjamin Bullard
Matt3o Tolkein Screencaps PRESS

We may never master Gollum’s peculiar patterns of speech, but at least fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s rich Middle-earth lore will soon be able to type in some of the fictional languages the iconic author created for The Lord of the Rings.

Thanks to the painstaking efforts of a keyboard designer known online as Matt3o, Tolkien fans with a scholarly linguistic flair can snag a pair of new keycap sets that swap those dull, boring English key characters for the runic alphabetical stylings of Tolkien’s Elvish and Dwarvish languages. The sets, designed to replace conventional mechanical keys on desktop PC keyboards, are set to begin shipping out to hardcore LOTR lovers early next year.

Though previous efforts by Matt3o to craft Tolkien-ized key covers reportedly have remained strictly in the hobbyist’s Hobbit realm, these two new sets are fully licensed by Middle-earth Enterprises, which holds the rights to major Tolkien-based film and product lines. That means fans won’t just be getting some cool-looking keycaps; they’ll also be assured that each character is officially sanctioned as a canonized piece of LOTR linguistic tradition.

Matt3o Tolkein Screencaps Dwarfish Press

On top of that, they just look cool. The officially licensed The Lord of the Rings MT3 Elvish Keycap Set comes in pastel forest hues of coral and green, while the Dwarvish version shows up in a more severe, monochrome color palate. Each set features both the Tolkien-derived character alongside the English character for each key, though — as The Verge notes — Matt3o had to get creative to bring a Middle-earth touch to some of the modern world’s keyboard command buttons (“Print Screen,” the report notes, “becomes ‘teitho parf’ — or literally, ‘write a book’”).

Making keycap sets that reflect the complex, time-descended history of Tolkien’s LOTR languages wasn’t as simple as making a series of simple and direct alphanumeric character swaps from Elvish and Dwarvish into English.

Matt3o gets into the details of how the final characters made the cut in a recent blog post, scratching the surface of a much deeper dive (seriously, check it out for yourself) by explaining things this way: “The Elvish characters are Tengwar, the Dwarvish’s are Cirth. Cirth (pronounced Kirth) was actually a system created by the elves (is there even something that they didn’t invent in Middle-earth?!) and was adopted by Dwarves and other species.”

Each keycap set is available at a pre-order price of $100 apiece, though fans can also order additional single-piece key covers to give their setup the complete customized treatment. If you’re ready to become the one LOTR language master to rule them all (or if you just want to get a huge head start on Amazon's upcoming LOTR series), you can grab both the Elvish and the Dwarvish set at Drop, ahead of their expected shipment date of Jan. 18, 2022.