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

 Tales of the Shire.
Tales of the Shire.

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.)