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January 11, 2005 - January 18, 2005

1-18-05 Latest News

ORC: TheOneRing Awards 2004
Xoanon @ 10:37 pm EST

On January 15th, 2005 TheOneRing.net and Creation Entertainment presented THE ONE RING AWARDS at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, California. Here is the list of nominees and winners. This list also includes the art show and contest winners. Congratulations to all! See you next year!

Best Performance by a LOTR actor in a television show

Sean Astin in Jeremiah (Showtime)
Sean Bean in Henry VIII (PBS)
Brad Douriff in Deadwood (HBO)
Craig Parker in Mercy Peak (TV ONE NZ)
Dominic Monaghan in Lost (ABC)

Best Performance by a LOTR actor in a motion picture

Viggo Mortensen in Hidalgo
Elijah Wood in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
Orlando Bloom in Pirates Of The Caribbean
Sean Bean in Troy
Ian McKellen in X2

Best Tolkien themed book published since the release of The Fellowship Of The Ring (the movie)

“Tolkien and the Great War” by John Garth (Publisher: Houghton Mifflin)
“The People’s Guide to J.R.R. Tolkien”, Erica Challis, Editor (Publisher: Cold Spring Press)
“There And Back Again: An Actor’s Tale” by Sean Astin (Publisher: St Martin’s Press)
“The Maps Of Tolkien’s Middle-earth” by Brian Sibley (Publisher: Houghton Mifflin)
“The Complete Guide to Middle-earth: Tolkien’s World from A to Z” by Robert Foster (Publisher: Del Rey)

Best Tolkien based Lecture presented at an Academic Function

“History in Words, Tolkien’s Ruling Passion” by Tom Shippey, Marquette University, October 2004
“Tolkien and the Idea of The Book (Sam Gamgee, Arthur & the Winchester Manuscript)” by Verlyn Flieger, Marquette University, October 2004
“Teaching Tolkien” by Michael Foster, Marquette University, October 2004
“Tolkien’s Green Time: Environmental Themes In The Lord Of The Rings”, by Andrew Light, NY Tolkien Society, April 2004
“Harry Potter Is A Hobbit” by Amy H. Sturgis, The Gathering Of The Fellowship, 2003

Best Fan Site dedicated to a LOTR actor/actress

Sean-Astin.net (SANET) – Sean Astin http://www.sean-astin.net
Always & Forever – Elijah Wood http://always.ejwsites.net
Stardom – Dominic Monaghan http://dommonaghan.com
ViggoChronicles – Viggo Mortensen http://www.viggochronicles.com
Craig Parker.net – Craig Parker http://www.craig-parker.net

Best Fan Fiction

“The Last Grey Ship” by Erin Rua
“Left Behind” by Elanor
Gandalf’s Diaries” by Ufthak
“Courting The Lady” by Celandine Brandybuck
“Reckoning” by Aratlithiel

Best Fan Film

“Lourde Of The Farkels”, director: Cathy “Bilbo” Clark
“Return of the King – Final Map”, director: Stephen Montalvo
“Fellowship of the Bags”, director: Leah Jakusovszky
“Lord Of The Rhymes: The Untolde Tale”, director: Morgan Barnard
“Journey To Microdor”, director: Linda J. Teller

Here is a listing of all the costume awards given, including the two that received One Ring Awards.


Most Endearing Couple, Youth Level

Pippin & Uruviel, modeled by Hailey and Jenai designed by and made by Jenai Pellesin

Cutest Hobbit, Youth Level

Hobbit, modeled by Emily Belenky designed by and made by Emily Belenky

Most Dashing, Youth Level

Faramir Ranger Garb, modeled by Sean Phillips designed by and made by Melody Phillips

Best in Class, Youth Level

Young Boromir, modeled by Veronica Smeltzer designed by and made by Danielle Smeltzer


Best Couple, Novice Level

Beren & Luthien, modeled by Valerie Sleith & Maarjel Snabel designed by and made by Valerie Sleith & Maarjel Snabel*

Best Adaptation of Design, Novice Level

Ithilian Rangers of Gondor, modeled by Danica & Dawn designed by and made by Danica Lisiewicz & Dawn Rose**

Best Fellowship, Novice Level

Hobbits & Elves & Men, Oh My!, modeled by Jennifer, Janelle, Jarek, Jacy, Megan & Zoe designed by and made by Jennifer, Janelle, Jarek & Jacy Neczypor, Megan Harrison & Zoe Jones

Best Leatherwork, Novice Level

Ithilien Ranger, modeled by Sheryl Gray designed by and made by SherlyGray

Most Beautiful Hobbit, Novice Level

Rosie Cotton, modeled by Carynn Udovch designed by Cathy Udovchand made by Jennifer Briggs

Most Creative Use of Unconventional Materials, Novice Level

The Last Ent Maidens, modeled by Micah & Christie designed by and made by Fatimah Abdullah & Christy Starner

Most Original, Novice Level

The Tower of Barad Dur, modeled by Nicole Roberts designed by and made by Nicole Roberts & Dot Caffrey

Best in Class, Novice Level

Legolas, son of Thranduil, modeled by Donald Pong designed by and made by Donald Pong & Lydia Lee


Best Couple, Journeyman Level

Arwen and Aragorn, modeled by Caitlin & Rogue Shindler designed by and made by Caitlin Shindler

Best Handwork, Journeyman Level

Eowyn Riding, modeled by Julie Simon designed by and made by Julie Simon

Most Beautiful, Journeyman Level

Eowyn Coronation Dress, modeled by Stephanie Phillips designed by and made by Melody Phillips

Most Heartbreaking, Journeyman Level

Mount Doom Frodo, modeled by Claire Green designed by and made by Claire Green

Best in Class, Journeyman Level

Lady of the Woodland Elves, modeled by Rebecca Peck designed by and made by Rebecca Peck


Excellence for Movie Accuracy, Master Level

Gandalf, modeled by Jay Smith designed by and made by Liane Deinhart

Best Tailoring and Use of Fabric, Master Level

Bilbo Baggins Party Outfit, modeled by Kathie Gust designed by and made by Kathie Gust

Best Original Concept, Master Level

Night Sky Over Middle Earth, designed by Johanna Washington and made by Shannon Hillinger.

Best in Class, Master Level

Theoden, King of Rohan, modeled by Philip Gust designed by and made by Kathie Gust


Best Workmanship

Legolas, son of Thranduil, modeled by Donald Pong designed by and made by Donald Pong & Lydia Lee

Best of Show

The Ents, modeled by Paul Wee & Adrianna Galvez designed by and made by Paul Wee & Adrianna Galvez

Art Show Award Winners

1st - Best in Show - 3D/crafts medium, amateur or professional: Laura
Quindt, "Mallorn Tree Banner"

1st - Best in Show - 2D medium, amateur: Olga Bosserdt, "Celebr'an and Her Sons"

1st - Best in Show - 2D medium, professional: John E. Kaufmann, "Reflects of the Shire"

2nd - Best in Show - all mediums, amateur: Helen K., "Elven Kings"
2nd - Best in Show - all mediums, professional: Colleen Doran, "Frodo Sam Merry Pippin"

3rd - Best in Show - all mediums, amateur: Jeanine Reane, "Bag End Planter"
3rd - Best in Show - all mediums, professional: Tim W. Kuzniar, "The Gray Wizard"

1st - Fan Favorite - Diana Vosburg, "Frodo's Dream"
2nd - Fan Favorite - John E. Kaufmann, "Reflects of the Shire"
3rd - Fan Favorite - Larry Briner, "Eowyn Faces the Witch King"

1st - Kid's Favorite - Lindsay Archer, "Aragorn and Arwen"
2nd - Kid's Favorite - Lindsay Archer, "Shadowfax"

MrCere's MASSIVE Orc Report!
Xoanon @ 10:25 pm EST

By MrCere@TheOneRing.net

PASADENA - The image bouncing around my cranium is difficult to comprehend, much less explain, but as I sit on an airplane and head either to or from an event as I did this past weekend at the first annual One Ring Celebration – known as O.R.C. – I find it lurking behind other mental pictures waiting for its turn to be viewed.

As I jet across the sky at 600 miles an hour 30,000 feet in the air wishing the guy across the isle from me would stop snoring, I can’t help but imagine that others are doing the same thing at the same time with others to follow or already ahead of us. We fly from diverse places all over the globe, both the famous and the unknown, to get together with a few thousand like-minded individuals for a weekend. Our virtual community (or parts of it) becomes physically based in the same time and spot for a few days. It is strange for me to think of it.

At times like that I can’t help but ponder Daniel Falconer or Bruce Hopkins somewhere over vast oceans returning to New Zealand where it is already tomorrow while other friends return to Atlanta or Chicago or Ireland or Wisconsin or Pennsylvania. Others drive below us in cabs or vans or personal cars, coming or going to a common event. Just a few hours after returning from ORC, I wish to share with friends and strangers a bit about the event this weekend past that brought so many together.

DISCLAIMER: Usually I try to maintain some sense of a journalistic report but this time it is simply impossible. I wasn’t present when many of the “big names” were speaking or if I was I was usually occupied with something else and I didn’t notice it. I will leave it to others to talk about stars. This report is something more of a journal entry than a report, which I regret but cannot avoid. I just didn’t collect enough information and wasn’t in the right places to have credibility in that sort of news story. Consider this more of journal entry with consideration given to a broad (hopefully) audience. I will throw in a couple of pictures that I happen to know nobody else got.

First, let me say ORC was expensive. Then let me follow-up that ORC was a bargain! Famous people are busy people and everybody wants a piece of the action. They are in demand and because of that their time and energy are at a premium. Getting them all to gather together at one time and place isn’t easy and it isn’t free. The line-up was pretty incredible and all things considered, pretty cheap, especially compared to similar events.

There was also a completely different side to the convention as well. There was an art show, a screening room, a scholarly track, a costuming bonanza and there was the pure sociality of an event with masses of people with a shared interest. From an obviously biased perspective, I thought there was a considerable amount of riches available for everybody willing to seek them. There was also a lot of Hobbity love, I just happen to not know anything about it.

There was an absolutely first-rate schedule of scholars on hand. Given the luxury of choice I would have had an extremely difficult time deciding between actors and scholars. I caught parts of panels on music, Nasmith's art, Tolkien & Lewis and mere moments of others and all were great! I feel that we could pull-off a whole convention of just this type and have a wildly successful event. It was absolutely outstanding and I hope it goes some way to dispelling the myth that TORn is just a movie site when in fact it is a Tolkien site. I will spare you all my ravings but I could go on at length about the greatness of the Tolkien minds not only speaking at the event but available for conversation and signatures. Next year somebody simply MUST have books for sale! Sales of Nasmith's illustrated 'The Silmarillion' would have been grand.

Thursday was the great day of meetings. It was old friends and new friends in the lobby or the elevator and it was a day of meetings and hugs, handshakes and shoulder clapping. This of course went on all weekend, but Thursday hogged the initial wonder of arrival all to itself for most of us involved. Thursday was also about the wonder of 9 p.m. when there was a legitimate line to pick up credentials. It was a relief to see that people actually did want to attend!

Friday I was pleased to moderate a panel to discuss the fascinating and wacky world of the on-line community. Greg Wright of HollywoodJesus.com joined TORn’s message board moderators Altaira and Barliman’s (TORn’s chat room) operator Balin. I tried to lob them some thought-provoking questions and those in attendance also had some excellent queries regarding the sociological aspects of an on-line community. I wish I had written down the answers but I recall Wright saying that, just as in the physical world, the more integrity, honesty and warmth a person puts into on-line relationships, the more genuine those relationships are. We also gave red stickers to the TORn message boarders in attendance, green ones to the Barliman’s crowd and various other colors to various other websites in attendance so they could spot each other on their convention badges. Altaira also read responses to a chat-room poll she took so know it or not, several of you were present as well. The best part was: somebody actually came!

RINGERS: Lord of the Fans hosted a panel with Dominic Monaghan so I did indeed get to see one of the ‘biggie’ actors on stage. It will be my pleasure to host the Ringers in Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah this very week for the world-premiere of the film and I felt that I should see what I could to know what was coming. My personal musical idol, Geddy Lee of Rush, appearing on film at a Tolkien-themed convention was another ‘can’t miss.’ Anyway, I was kneeling in front of the stage when Monaghan jumped off the stage to watch the RINGERS film clips and who should he sit by but TORn friends! I will include one of those photos here, but that was pretty fun! To the credit of the audience, they didn’t mob him but respectfully watched the clip, or at least let Dom watch the clip while they unobtrusively drooled.

Friday was also a prep-day for the 50th Anniversary Party of “The Lord of the Rings.” Although it wasn’t exactly the right day for such a party, it was our chance to celebrate it collectively. It also served as a smaller and simpler version of Saturday nights show so that those of us putting the event on could see how things might work. My most sincere thanks go to those involved who helped us all pull off the show. We had a few Middle-earth themed variety acts which the performers really put their heart and soul into. We drastically shrunk the stage for the interpretive dance of Beren and Luthien but they braved the performance all the same. We may have incorrectly listed “The Littlest Orc” as an incorrect name in the handbill (singing “My Eye”) and we certainly enjoyed the live performance of “The Blues Hobbits.” Our costuming friend performed, as Galadriel, a song she composed (wow!) about Frodo and his experience at The Mirror. We also had a pair of sisters perform a hilarious dance number that combined Hobbits, cheerleading and all sorts of dance moves into one funny performance. Our beautiful harp number seemed flawless to every ear (thanks to the Emerald Rose sound tech for teaching the secrets of sound for a harp) except for the performer who apparently didn't give her best performance in her own ears. Well done!

I have no idea why the bar closed early and neither does Creation Entertainment!

World Without Sundays played and while they have been at several TORn events, I haven’t had the chance to listen carefully prior to Friday. Finally I can appreciate the following they have earned among TORnados. Yes! I regretfully missed an encore performance on Sunday night at a club but one cannot be in two places at once.

Finally, I was adamant in our planning for the party that we have TORn karaoke. As a tradition started at Dragon Con several years back, it was a new tradition that I wanted to be sure to include at our own party. The TORn staff (some of it anyway), after much prodding and pleading backstage gathered on stage to sing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” A few of the guests of the convention also joined us on stage where Bruce Hopkins proceeded to go nuts, to the delight of everybody. During the course of the tune Hopkins decided to pick up the rented monitor and show it to the audience and dance around with it. I am betting I was not the only person thinking that somehow TORn was going to be buying the rental company a new monitor! I doubt the singing was much good but since the audience was pressed forward and belting it at the top of its lungs as well, I don’t think it mattered. I regret Mrs. Cere not joining us on-stage but she did snap a very fine picture of the joyful madness of Bruce, who like all karaoke singers, was making the most of his 5 minutes of rock stardom.

DJDeathkiss from our own boards was pressed into service as DJ and several of TORn's own took the stage to belt out some tunes. I will be the first to admit that the number of folks who stayed might have been larger but it would be nearly impossible for the number to grow more enthusiastic. It was enthusiastically delivered and appreciated by those who stuck around until the 1 a.m. curfew. I hope the feedback email (available soon if not already) reflects a positive reaction to karaoke.


Saturday was busy time and made Thursday and Friday feel like leisure time by comparison. I had three dear friends helping me prepare for the Saturday night evening entertainment that included the first ever One Ring Awards, the heir to the TORn Oscar Parties. TORn staffer Arwen (I THINK!? To me she is Catherine!) MrsCere and FrodoForPresident planned, prepared and bluffed our way through the One Ring Awards, pretty much all day. Its safe to say none of us are quitting our day jobs to manage stage shows.

Saturday was also the day that TORn founder and Sideshow Collectibles webmaster (of which Sideshow/WETA is a part) had agreed to don an Arwen dress and wig. It seems in a collectibles chat room he stated that if the Sideshow Minas Tirith statue sold out in a week he would wear a dress at ORC, figuring there was no chance. Seems he was wrong. "Calisuri in a dress" became my motto for the awards show so when he took the main stage earlier in the day, I made sure I was there to see how things went. Simply, CalArwen was a smash! He was a rock star in the halls from both strangers and familiar faces. Once on stage he introduced the much clamored for Pippin statue on the main stage in full Arwen regalia, to the delight of all. I also witnessed Boyd viewing it for the first time just before that and he loved it enough that he made Sideshow promise to send him one. (Sideshow sends all the talent the statues based on their characters - for the record.)

In due process I snapped CalArwen using the urinal, a photo that simply must circulate all over the world wide web. Xoanon happened to be walking by with his video camera just as Cali was walking inside so live footage exists somewhere. I hope to never see it. The whole thing made for some hilarious 'men's room' humor, which I think is more than enough said.

On a sour note I did miss the TORn founders telling the story of TORn in the scholar's room. I was a bit sad to be so busy and miss the tale in a format where they can't easily brush of the question and change the subject, as they often do, seeking to duck credit where it is due. Still not-for-profit after all these years, the PTB have never exploited the web site or used their status for personal gain. (Not to say there aren't nice perks on occasion!)

For the show we wanted the Hobbit/Actors involved since they had actually won awards being presented that night. We tried very hard to involve all the other available actors, the scholars, the artists, the Wetas, the TORn Founders and of course the descendent of the author. Many of them had spent long, long hours signing and had family and friends waiting for them so the scheduling of the thing didn't really work out.

However, for the sake of fans and of the show, I kind of wrangled Mr. Billy Boyd to the stage. He was still hanging around when our great friends and the great band Emerald Rose finished their calming welcoming set, so I rushed everybody's favorite Master of Ceremonies Quickbeam on stage to introduce him before he could escape. Coincidentally the first award was for "Best LOTR Actor in a Television Show" which was won by Dominic Monaghan on 'Lost', as voted by TORn users. We couldn't pass up Boyd reading the nominees and announcing Dom as the winner. Thanks Billy and before you get too bugged, I did fetch you a couple of beers the previous night!

So with Cliff "Quickbeam" Broadway on stage, our little awards show changed literally by the moment behind the scenes. Our great friend and scholar Greg Wright was scheduled to give an award but his wife grew ill when the show started (was it that bad?) and they had to leave. True gentleman Peter Tait not only presented but sang us a lively tune as well. R. Tolkien himself helped with an award, as did the fun-loving trio of Jorn and Jarl Benzon and Sandro Kopp. Bruce Hopkins further engrained himself into the heart of TORn staff and readers by being so willing and open to help with anything while Daniel Falconer earned his reputation as a contender for the warmest man alive.

Author Peter S. Beagle honored us with his appearance as did Colleen Doran who tried to keep Elijah Wood's award for "Best LOTR Movie Performance" in 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," so that Wood would be forced to pick it up from her home. Ringers' director Carlene Cordova and director of photography Josh Mandell also chipped in and appropriately so did all four TORn founders. Calisuri did, once again, wear the Arwen dress (think Arwen crossed with Shrek's Fiona) and was joined by Corvar, Tehanu and Xoanon. I am not sure one could find four people who enjoy being in the spotlight less. Only three times have all of the four been gathered together so for those who admire them so much (including me) it was fun to see.

In official behalf of TheOneRing.net and also in behalf of the handful of folks who pulled off this show, we can't thank each and every one of you enough.

On the other side of the stage a whole gaggle of wonderfully costumed fans were also helping us co-ordinate the awarding of trophies. Each costumed carrier performed the duties we asked of them with great attitudes and with grace. It was wonderful to work with wonderful people. Creation's sound tech Ben also offered invaluable service. Thanks! Thanks! Thanks! To all!

After the show, Emerald Rose treated us to an up-tempo set. The band played its heart out, as it always does, and they were true professionals as they always are. Dancing and singing and socializing ensued.


Sunday already felt like the end of things, but I personally woke up thrilled to know I could see the Charlie Ross One-Man LOTR show. I checked out the art show finally and visited as many good people at the show as I could. Despite having little business doing so, I was honored to join Ted Nasmith, Balin, Altaira and Quickbeam on stage as a panel where we proved how little we know about Tolkien and gave away some prizes.

Mr. John Rhy-Davies know far and wide as a gracious signer and autographer, took his sweet time with fans, performing many small acts of kindness that will not be forgotten. I can't credibly report on much of the day except to say that when I finally saw Charles Ross perform, every expectation was met! The man packed into one 60-minute performance, all the essential moments from the Peter Jackson film trilogy including sound effects, special effects, the soundtrack and key emotional highlights. His voices were brilliant, his physical humor was inspired and his story telling was impeccable. His extra humor put the show over the top but what I loved most about the performance was his complete commitment to throwing himself fully into every roll. If I have my way, Ross will be back at ORC every year. I want to hear his Aragorn again right now and I want to watch his Boromir death scene, to see if he can nail it so exactly again.

Not only that, I want to sit with John Noble and watch as Ross imitates his famous scene of eating while also singing (dead on I might add) Pippin's 'mist and shadow' number. Oh the though nearly slays me and at the same time I marvel how clearly he spoke the lines of the Great Eye and slipped in Rhys-Davies Treebeard AND Gimli, each notably different while the actor sat just behind him, separated by a curtain, hearing the whole performance. Just as in my praise of the scholars, I could go on and on. Whoops, I already did.

Well, there is more to the story but I think this will do. I am completely honest when I say; "I can't wait until ORC2!"

ORC: Sunday Report
Xoanon @ 10:21 pm EST

Check this space for photos soon!

Here is Celebriel’s recap of Sunday events she attended at ORC:

Celebrity Brunch and Silent Auction

Ringers got an early start on Sunday, gathering before 9 AM for the elegant celebrity brunch and silent auction at Delmonico’s, across from the Pasadena Center. In addition to champagne, coffee, and juice, French toast, bacon and sausage, prime rib, salmon, oysters and other items were plentiful.

But fans came for the company more than the food. John Rhys-Davies, Bruce Hopkins, Royd Tolkien, Daniel Falconer, and other guests took time to seriously mingle and chat. They talked about their current projects, personal interests, and LOTR-related experiences. Daniel Falconer, for example, talked about the New Zealand visit of now 84-year-old special effects legend Ray Harryhausen and how inspiring it was to see Harryhausen discuss the techniques and models he used in classic special effects films like “Jason and the Argonauts” and “Clash of the Titans.” (N.B. Peter Jackson and Ray Harryhausen were both inspired by the original 1933 King Kong.) In turn, fans talked about charity efforts they were supporting and shared journals, scrapbooks, and photo albums with the celebrity guests.

Royd Tolkien and Friends

A panel discussion with Royd Tolkien, Peter Tait, Jorn and Jarl Benzon, and Sandro Kopp, moderated by iron man scholar Mike Foster, kicked off Sunday’s Main Stage events.

Royd explained that being a Tolkien in England was not a big deal, saying that the clerks in bookstores never really noticed his name. He was in New Zealand for the last few weeks of filming, explaining, “I wanted to be involved, so I contacted Mark Ordesky (currently COO of New Line Productions). I was used in the final pickup shots.” Royd played a Gondorian ranger, and enjoyed visiting WETA and just hanging around on set.

Royd said that “The Hobbit,” which he first read at age 9 or 10, was his favorite among his great-grandfather’s works. He also mentioned The Letters from Father Christmas, yearly letters and drawings his great-grandfather wrote for his own children starting in the 1920s. Royd clarified his family tree, explaining that his grandfather was Michael Tolkien, the second of the professor’s three sons.

Jorn and Jarl Benzon and Sandro Kopp each played many different characters in the trilogy. They talked about the rivalries between orcs and elves during the Helm’s Deep shoot, and about the rivalries between “fighting elves” and “floating elves.” Sandro’s main role was Gildor, one of Elrond’s elf lords, but he also played a Helm’s Deep elf, a Rohirrim, an orc, an Uruk-Hai, a rider of Rohan, a soldier in the Army of the Dead, a Gondorian soldier, a corsair and a Haradrim. (He is the elf on Elrond's right when the elves arrive for the coronation in Minas Tirith.)

Sandro said the elves had lots of training in archery, swordplay, and movement. He quoted Weta’s movement coordinator on the movement of the elves: “eagles above the hips and deer below." He prepared by looking in the mirror and constantly practicing. There were always new people coming on as fighting elves, so they drilled fairly regularly. The scene in The Two Towers in which the elves, under the command of Haldir, snap into formation took several hours of filming at night. The scene took so long, Sandro explained, because of the complex camera angle.

In another partnership formed while making the trilogy, Sandro and Royd Tolkien are currently working on a book, tentatively titled The Servants of the Ring, which will feature Royd’s photographs and Sandro’s drawings.

“Shagrat still exists for me. He’s still out there somewhere, in a netherworld,” said Peter Tait of his character, the Captain of the Orcs of the Tower of Cirith Ungol. “Shagrat is hunched over, seedy, someone who’s been around for a while. I had a favorite rugby player I modeled him on.” He demonstrated Shagrat’s voice and explained that for fighting, “you have to be quite fierce and get in the zone.” Playing an orc means “you have to be as fit as you can.” Peter kept fit by running, which he noted “is also good for the lungs.”

Panelists were asked about their favorite characters. For Sandro, it was Gollum. For Royd, Aragorn in the book and Gollum in the films, but he said he liked special characters like the Mouth of Sauron.

John Rhys-Davies

Back in 1927, Harry M. Warner, co-founder of Warner Brothers, asked, “Who the he** wants to hear actors talk?" If he’d lived long enough to hear the literate and engaging John Rhys-Davies converse with LOTR fans, he’d have had his answer. John Rhys-Davies’ credits rival those of fellow cast members Ian McKellen and Christopher Lee. They range from I, Claudius in 1976 to Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade for Steven Spielberg and lighter fare like The Princess Diaries 2. On stage, he was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he starred as Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Prospero, and in many other classic roles.

John is beloved by his fans for the time, attention and sincerity he gives them. On Sunday, he spoke about his lifelong interest in science, a career he wanted to pursue before seeing Oedipus Rex on stage at the age of twelve turned his interest to drama. Many of his investment projects are science-related.

A young fan asked him if Gimli was funny on purpose or by accident. John called her up on stage, knelt down and said, “Gimli is not funny.” She remained unconvinced, so on her way off stage he offered some advice to her parents on the raising of young hobbits.

He also retold a famous Orlando Bloom boat story. During training for the production, a boat containing Orlando and John capsized, and Orlando suggested that John had caused the spill. A year and a half later, however, Orlando was involved in another canoe spill, this time with a Gimli stunt double.

John was very honest about his upfront expectations for LOTR: they weren’t very high. He was interested in the role of Denethor, and figured the shoot would give him a chance to explore New Zealand while working. Of the trilogy’s success, he said he was never so happy to be so wrong.

(Note: this reporter missed about 80% of John Rhys-Davies’s conversation because she had to stay in the Red Cross area for half an hour after giving blood.)

Stump the Experts

While John Rhys-Davies’ fans were waiting patiently for their autographs, they were entertained by the Stump the Experts panel, in which fans challenged Cliff Broadway, Ted Nasmith, Larry Curtis and other experts on all aspects of Tolkien’s universe. An early question on Aragorn’s birth date and year had panelists counting backward from his age at the time of his coronation, while others asked the names of Elrond's sons and the number of types of dragons in Tolkien's works.

The Road Goes Ever Onward

Near the end of Sunday’s program, fans signing up for the 2006 One Ring Celebration met with Creation Entertainment to select their seats. While no celebrities have been announced, the convention itself is set for January 20-22, 2006 at the Pasadena Center and will include two evening parties. Will we see you there?

ORC: Your Feedback needed!
Xoanon @ 10:17 pm EST

PASADENA - Not sure if you heard - but - TheOneRing.net and Creation Entertainment slapped a little event together in Pasadena, California last weekend that set the Tolkien community buzzing.

Not to name drop but Sean Astin, Peter Beagle, Billy Boyd, John Rhys-Davies, Daniel Falconer, Bruce Hopkins, Dominic Monaghan, Ted Nasmith, Charlie Ross, Peter Tait, Royd Tolkien, Elijah Wood and Greg Wright all stopped by (just to name a few of the more noteworthy guests) to add to support the event.

Equally as cool, thousands of fans showed up to enjoy the One Ring Celebration for three consecutive days with scholars, artists, costumers, writers and fans.

Now that the first installment of the annual event is over we at TORn want to know about your experience. We feel good about the weekend but we also know things can get better. If you attended the first-even ORC, please contact us with things you liked and things you would like to change for ORC 2006.

Write to: orcfeedback@theonering.net

Please keep in mind, some things we cannot change no matter how much mail we receive. For example, it is expensive to bring in actors, artists and scholars, especially of the caliber attending last weekend.

We do want to improve and in fact make ORC as good as it can possibly be so your helpful feedback is appreciated. We can't promise to reply to each letter and note but every single one will be read, likely several times. We will also share appropriate feedback with Creation Entertainment.

Thanks TORnados, a few minutes of your time can make a difference!

1-17-05 Latest News

ORC: Saturday Recap
Xoanon @ 11:19 pm EST

ORC: The One Ring Celebration

Celebriel recaps some of the highlights of the Saturday sessions and events at ORC:

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us,” said Gandalf. The wizard’s wisdom was never more relevant than on Saturday at The One Ring Celebration at the Pasadena Convention Center. The day’s choices included Main Stage programs with three hobbits, three parallel programming tracks (scholars and artists, costuming, and children’s activities), photo and autograph sessions, and the costume contest and masquerade. Any vendors selling Hermione Granger’s Time-Turner™ would have done a brisk business.

Elijah Wood and Sean Astin

Elijah Wood and Sean Astin reunited onstage for conversation and fan questions. When asked what production mementos they had received, Sean explained that he received Sam’s sword and backpack and his daughter Alexandra received the costume she wore as Sam’s eldest child Elanor Gamgee. Elijah received Frodo’s sword Sting, hobbit feet, a portrait that hung above the mantle in Bag End showing Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh as hobbit ancestors (check it out on your DVD!) and, oh yes, a ring in a special box.

Most questions concerned the craft of acting and Elijah and Sean’s working relationship. Sean noted that both his parents are actors, and that he has always been interested in directing and producing. “Acting has been there to help me make a living. I enjoy the fraternity of actors, a sacred tradition that has existed for thousands and thousands of years.” (N.B. Sean was nominated for an Academy Award for Kangaroo Court in 1995, a film he directed and co-produced)

Iowa-born Elijah didn’t aspire to being an actor. He moved with his family to California, where his mother thought he might be good as a child performer in ads. Elijah explained, “The more work I got, the more passionate I became,” and commented, “I feel like I have been going to film school for the past 15 years.”

About preparing for another take of an emotional scene where you’ve already given your all, Elijah explained that as an actor “You’ve already put yourself in a place and don’t allow yourself to leave. The further you get into it the more real it feels. You get to a place that feels honest for that moment and just stay there.” Sean commented, “Part of the process is not to analyze it, not to be outside yourself because it will come across as false.”

Their working relationship is becoming legendary. Elijah explained, “We were constant support for each other over a year and a half. We held each other up and were there for each other. The closeness we developed in person carried over into our characters.” Sean added, “I admired Elijah’s work for years before I knew him. I appreciated his talent, his seriousness of purpose. I wanted to be in the movie to work with Elijah.”

About the really tough emotional scenes, such as the one on Mount Doom after the ring is destroyed, Sean explained, “We just pushed each other to get to those places. It meant the world that we could make scenes like that happen. It was like a medicine ball that we just passed back and forth to become more real, more open with each other.”

Masquerade and Costume Contest

As more than 100 entrants anxiously awaited the costume judges’ decisions Saturday afternoon, a variation of the old actor’s adage about children and animals no doubt passed through their minds: “Never work with kids and trees. They’ll steal the show every time.” Their fears proved justified when a pair of Ents took Best in Show and children such as Young Boromir drew thunderous applause.

The creativity and workmanship of the costumes and the range of characters presented were breathtaking. The masquerade was led off by Beren and Luthien and included Goldberry and Tom Bombadil (who danced across the stage), Gandalf, Legolas, King Theoden, young Pippin, Diamond of Long Cleeve (Pippin’s future wife, complete with green apples in her basket), Lobelia Sackville-Baggins, Arwen’s mother Celebrian, Mount Doom Frodo with his nine fingers and bloody shirt, the three Brandybuck sisters (who really are sisters), chase-scene Arwen complete with Hadhafang, a Lady Wizard, a Frodo and Sam with hobbit feet made from yellow dishwashing gloves, Entwives, a Ringwraith, and Barad-dûr itself.

The contestants’ parade on Saturday afternoon reflected just the very tip of an iceberg of work by judges and organizers to make this event happen. Volunteers Kent Elofson, appropriately costumed as Aragorn, and Judy Grivich led a small army who scripted a Middle Earth runway fashion show with dozens of last minute entrants, organized sign in sheets, dealt with schedule changes, got people in the in the right line and in right order, worked in the staging area answering questions, watching purses and glasses, calming nerves, and helping people out of and then back into costumes after bathroom breaks, and then delivered them to the assistant stage managers who gave them stage direction and helped them up the steps and through the curtain to their 30 seconds in the spotlight.

Noted Tolkien artist and author Colleen Doran smoothly MC’d the show around minor technical glitches and through withdrawn entries. At one point when several scripted entrants had withdrawn and it wasn’t quite clear who the next contestant was, Colleen calmly held the microphone in front of the contestant and asked her to introduce the costume. While the masquerade took place on stage, judges including Daniel Falconer and Cat Devereaux were busy reviewing notes and rankings from backstage judging, determining winners in original and re-creation costumes in the exhibition, youth, novice, journeyman, and master categories, plus special awards and best in show.

Waiting for the announcements, contestants enthusiastically snapped pictures of each other in new groupings, reuniting the Ents and Entwives. All entrants received a consolation prize, a glossy photo of Dominic Monaghan as Merry, plus memories of their time on the Middle Earth runway.

The One Ring Awards Celebration

Most attendees had a chance to rest, recharge and change clothes for the One Ring Awards celebration after getting their autographs from Billy Boyd, Elijah Wood, and Sean Astin. But not all. When early arrivals began to line up around 8:30 PM, they learned the party would be delayed because Hobbits Frodo, Sam, and Pippin were still inside signing autographs, a task they’d started just after 5 PM! Around 9:45 the doors opened, and the elegantly dressed and costumed revelers enjoyed chicken satay, coconut shrimp, and other goodies (although, in the interest of unbiased journalism, it must be reported that many guests said not enough food was provided).

“Ringers” producer/writer/interviewer Cliff (Quickbeam) Broadway was once again the MC for the evening, attired in a heart-stealing drop dead gorgeous leather frock coat and leather pants. Cliff was definitely hot (take that as you will).

The ceremony proceeded Academy Award style, with Royd Tolkien, Sandro Kopp, Peter Beagle, Colleen Doran, TORn staffers and others announcing the awards and costumed assistants escorting presenters and winners off stage. One Ring Awards honored fan artists in both two and three dimensional media, scholarly books, fan websites (Always and Forever – Elijah Wood), performance by a LOTR actor in a television series (Dominic Monaghan in “Lost”), performance by a LOTR actor in a film, costume award winners in all categories, and several others. Film clips from the five nominees for best fan-directed and produced film were shown, with Leah Jakusovszky’s “Fellowship of the Bags” winning the best film award. The film tells an abbreviated version of LOTR using bag puppets, inspired by the advertising for the Fandango ticket service.

After the ceremony, Celtic rock band Emerald Rose, well known to LOTR fans, took the stage and provided Middle Earth music for elves, hobbits, humans, and even orcs.

Oscars 2005 Still Talking Rings
Xoanon @ 10:38 pm EST

Elycia writes: This year's list of Academy Award winners already has a LOTR connection.

(From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution) Atlanta-based Giant Studios has won a technical achievement award and in a Feb. 12 ceremony will receive an academy certificate noting the development of the company's motion-capture technology, instrumental in the creation of Gollum in the "Lord of the Rings" movies.

Matt Madden, vice president of research and development for Giant Studios, will be among four recipients being honored at next month's "technical Oscars" for the company's innovation. The others are Nels Madsen, Vaughn Cato and Bill Lorton.

Giant Studios' technology was also used to capture the movements of Tom Hanks for the computer-animated "The Polar Express" and for special effects for "The Day After Tomorrow."

Meanwhile, Giant Studios recently signed a contract for its motion-capturing technology to be used in director Peter Jackson's "King Kong," expected to open Dec. 14.

The studio is also working on motion-capturing for director George Miller's "Happy Feet," expected in 2006, and Andrew Adamson's "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe," expected to open Dec. 9.

1-16-05 Latest News

TV Watch: Golden Globes on Tonight
Xoanon @ 2:26 pm EST

The 62nd Annual Golden Globes awards are being presented tonight in Los Angeles. The Globes celebrate work in television as well as motion pictures. They tend to be a bit more laid back than the Oscars, mainly because they serve alchohol. Take a look at these nominations of interest. The Golden Globes air tonight on NBC at 8 p.m. Eastern.








24 (FOX)


1-15-05 Latest News

ORC: Friday Photos
Xoanon @ 1:27 pm EST

ORC: Friday Photos
Click for more images

Celebriel provides a late-night overview of some of the many highlights of the Friday main session and events at ORC:

The first panel featured supporting stars Jarl and Jorn Benzon, Sandro Kopp, and Peter Tait. In response to fan questions, they discussed fellow cast members they most enjoyed working with, including Christopher Lee ("just to be on the same stage with him is amazing"), Viggo Mortensen ("he's a fantastic artist, diverse in creativity, inspiring...and he is beautiful as well!"), Elijah Wood (Peter Tait said Elijah was so nice he restored his faith in Americans), and Ian McKellan.

They confirmed that the night shooting at Helm's Deep was indeed grueling, but felt that it was the Helm's Deep experience that really generated the sense of camaraderie that carried the cast and crew through the rest of the production. They were also amazed by the dedicated Helm's Deep extras, who "worked in their offices during the day and came to work in Helm's Deep at night."

Fan favorite Bruce Hopkins discussed how his role as King Theoden's sidekick evolved, saying he wished he had been part of the film from the beginning. He explained that because the Pelennor Field scenes had already been filmed when he became involved, the film never makes clear Gamling's fate. Bruce had not had a great deal of experience riding horses, so he really appreciated being filmed on the "phony pony," a WETA-created model horse that could exactly mimic the movements and gaits of real horses. When this model broke, they went back to a lower tech one on springs.

On a more serious note, Bruce talked about his involvement with Winnie Jackson, a Los Angeles County Probation Officer, and Operation Read Lord of the Rings, saying Ms. Jackson was a real inspiration to him because of her efforts to improve literacy, and improve the lives of children and the community by having them read Lord of the Rings. Ms. Jackson and some of her students joined Bruce on stage. Her passion for Lord of the Rings and for her community was evident as she shared stories of how LOTR had made a difference in people's lives - because they related to the characters, they were able to make positive changes in their own lives.

Peter Jackson sent a video message from New Zealand, saying he was unfortunately too involved wrestling with a big gorilla to come to the convention. He said he spent the holidays hoping that New Line would call about making The Hobbit, but it didn't happen. "Let's get this made," he commented. Peter also invited all of his ex-cast members to help him out with his current film by coming to New Zealand to be squashed by King Kong.

Dominic Monaghan came to ORC directly from an American Film Institute luncheon, and remarked that this year's film award season seemed empty without a Lord of the Rings entry. Questions for Dom addressed his work in both "The Lord of the Rings" and "Lost," and he fielded them thoughtfully and graciously. Dom had many good stories about location shooting in New Zealand, from how impressive Edoras was as the cast watched the sun rise over it to helicopter escapades with the pilots who took them up to Mt. Cook. Dom also talked about his friendship with Billy Boyd, his own love of comedy and practical jokes, his first reading of Lord of the Rings at age 15, his new car, and the best bars in Wellington.

Dominic also provided a natural segue to the panel on "Ringers: Lord of the Fans," as he is the film's narrator. Producer/writer Cliff Broadway, Director/writer Carlene Cordova, and Executive Producer Tom Desanto joined Dom is sharing their excitement for the film, which they finished editing earlier this week, and which premieres January 21 at the Slamdance Festival in Park City, Utah. Their 150 hours of film have been edited down to 96 minutes covering each decade in the 50 years since The Fellowship of the Ring was published with a look at topics ranging from spirituality to rock 'n' roll. The team is currently negotiating for a distributor for national theatrical release.

The last official event of the day was the 50th Anniversary Celebration, where Cliff Broadway led Ringers in a toast to Professor Tolkien, and mass quantities of ice cream, cake, and chocolate were consumed in honor of the occasion. Fans provided the first part of the entertainment as well, including The Blues Hobbits and their "One Ring Blues," Hip Hob and their breakdancing hobbit routine, The Littlest Orc with "My Eye," a parody of the classic tune "My Guy," and the beautiful and talented Julia McGree.

The big surprise of the evening was the arrival of Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd to introduce World Without Sundays, who really got everyone moving. ORC Karaoke was the last act, kicked off by the TORn staff and friends, including Bruce Hopkins, singing the Bohemian Rhapsody.

Friday set the stage for an even busier day on Saturday, featuring Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd, the costume contest and masquerade, and The One Ring Awards Celebration with entertainment by Emerald Rose. Watch this space for additional ORC updates.

ORC: 50th Anniversary Celebration & WWS Concert
Xoanon @ 12:46 pm EST

After writing my report last night Kathy and I recharged our batteries a bit then headed back for the 50th Anniversary toast and the WORLD WITHOUT SUNDAYS concert.

I had the fortune to meet a few of the WWS guys before the Dominic Monaghan signing event and I got the chance to tell them that thier remake of 'Where There's a Whip, There's a Way' was AWESOME! So it was really neat to hear it live last night.

But before the concert ORC attendees were treated to an amazing assortment of desserts while enjoying some fan-entertainment on the main stage. When we arrived 'Singing Gandalf' was...well...singing! We found Tehanu, Corvar and Calisuri chatting it up with the folks from CREATION ENTERTAINMENT and EMERAL ROSE. As the night progressed we saw some amazing (and amazingly odd) acts, likes the BLUES HOBBITS, a dramatic dance interpretation featuring Beren and Luthien, Hip Hobbits, and a group of orcs singing thier love to Sauron..it was an odd evening indeed.

Quickbeam took the stage to make the 50th Anniversary toast, and everyone raised a glass to the good professor. It was really amazing to see a few hundred people drink to his name.

A little later on into the night, after a few more drinks (and desserts) were passed around Quickbeam took the stage again. The crowd was idly mingling by the dessert bar or sitting around waiting for the next act...when suddenly Quickbeam shouts 'Ladies and Gentlemen....BILLY BOYD!!!!!'

Needless to say the whole room exploded into cheers and flashes of cameras as Billy took to the mic and said a few words to the crowd. A few seconds later Dominic Monaghan slips out from behind the curtain and there are more cheers and camera flashes. Dom and Billy hug like they haven't seen eachother in years. And they both take mics to announce WORLD WITHOUT SUNDAYS!

The band comes out rocking with a few of their more known tracks...the entire room is full of dancing fanboys and girls, some in costume...a surreal site to behold.

By this time of the night Kathy and I are complete zombies...we needed some sleep. We head back to our hotel and shut the lights.

But reading some emails, and checking out some photos posted on our message boards I can see Bruce Hopkins arrived for Karaoke and general sillyness after the WWS concert. Take a look at this link for some photos of last night. More coming soon!


1-14-05 Latest News

ORC: Xoanon Checks In
Xoanon @ 11:37 pm EST

Hi all,

Kathy and I have made it safe and sound here in Pasadena. After a slightly rough morning...and a longer drive that we could have thought we checked into the wonderful hotel and made our way to ORC, already in full swing.

I reunited with Tehanu working at the Red Carpet Tours booth, not 5 yards from Calisuri working at the Sideshow/WETA booth. Corvar was in tow as well and it was a great reunion.

As we first arrived the RINGERS: LORD OF THE FANS panel was the main attraction of the moment. Dominic Monaghan was on stage wowing the crowd and answering questions. Later Producer Tom DeSanto, Director Carlene Cordova, Dominic Monaghan and Cliff Broadway (Quickbeam) took the stage to talk about the production. Fans were treated to small clips from the film, and were all but virtually promised ad theatrical release sometime soon!

Kathy and I then took a tour of the art exhibit and dealers booths, there is some amazing stuff on sale there! I already saw my wallet burning a hole through my pants so I needed to move on quick (that life-size replica of Hellboy's "Samaratin" gun...ohhhman!! I purchased some ORC memorabillia such as a shot glass and a mug, always handy.

Cathy, the head honcho and main co-ordinator of the event then took Bill and I aside and asked us if we wanted to volunteer for a job...so we did. Turns out the job was to sit with Dominic Monaghan for almost 3 hours while he signed autographs for the fans!

I'm not normally a gushing fanboy, but Dom is so amazingly cool in Lost, and all his work on 'RINGERS' (which you haven't seen yet...but is REALLY cool!) so I was excited to be able to pal around with him for a while!

Of course my official job was the ensure that the fans had the proper tickets and that all items were readily available for Dom to sign...but c'mon! This was a chance of a lifetime, so I joked around with him and asked him some great questions...he really is as nice a guy as people think he is, weither you meet him for 30 seconds or 30 minutes.

Right now I'm sitting in my hotel room taking a short break before heading back to the con for the WORLD WITHOUT SUNDAYS concert, and to snap some more footage and photos for you guys!

More news soon!

ORC: Day 1
Xoanon @ 11:20 pm EST

From Mrcere

PASADENA: The pieces are moving, the board is set and ORC is on the verge of going wonderfully wild! TheOneRing.net and Creation Entertainment have all the necessities in place to kick open the doors to the Pasadena Conference Center and begin the One Ring Celebration.

Thursday was the calm before the storm of fandom, scholars, stars and TORnados launch the first of the likely annual event that celebrates the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and all the related pop-culture phenomenon, including the Peter Jackson films based on the book.

Preparation for the event was extensive as TORn staffers, vendors and Creation prepared the Conference Center for the swam of fans who arrived all day and settled in for the weekend. Hotel lobbies were consistently busy as fans from all over the world converged in Los Angeles in preparation for the events.

Internet friends met in the flesh, often for the first time, while others renewed long-time friendships with handshakes and hugs. Reports of celebrities made the rounds as so-and-so caught sight of so-and-so in such-and-such hotel or restaurant. Friday night after local eateries disgorged hundreds of ëRingers' back into the thankfully dry and moderate temperatures, a line formed at the Conference Center for the optional pick-up of weekend passes. Soon the line stretched down a long entry hall and through the doors, up the stairs and onto the street. The optional event lasted two hours and also offered patrons a chance to get pictures of stars, tickets for signings and ORC clothing.

TheOneRing.net already has a wealth of images to show you (we are kinda busy, be patient!) and will be covering the event for TORn readers. We appreciate the support countless on-line friends have given us over the years allowing us to help throw this little party. We salute all of you at home that couldn't attend and hope to bring you the best possible coverage so that you too can participate in the One Ring Celebration.

TORn opens the first panel Friday at Noon to welcome on-line friends and discuss the unique experience of belonging to an internet community. Other highlights include actors Bruce Hopkins, Sandro Kopp, Jarl and Jorn Benzon, Peter Tait, Dominic Monaghan, the ëRingers: Lord of the Fans' crew, and scholars such as Greg Wright, Katreyla Angus, Mike Foster, Paul Badali and famed artist Ted Nasmith. In addition there is a kids program and extensive costuming content that all combine to provide an almost overwhelming array of ways to spend a day immersed in the world of Tolkien and Tolkien fandom.

To top it off (with a cherry even!) Friday will feature a celebration party of the 50th Anniversary of the publication of the Lord of the Rings consisting of honorable toasting of the good professor from Oxford, fan entertainment, a jam from TORn favorite ìWorld Without Sundaysî, and finally, a fan karaoke session ñ a tradition forged by and for fans!

Friday also features the arrival of scads more friends and TORn staffers coming in to shore up the front line of the fancentric celebration.

We wish you all were here but promise to deliver the best information we can in our attempt to share the fun. (And photos too!)

1-13-05 Latest News

Sean Astin at ProLiteracy Luncheon
Xoanon @ 8:30 pm EST


Sean Astin will be the featured speaker at the Love of Literacy Luncheon to be held at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida on Friday, March 18, 2005 at 11:30 a.m. I spoke with someone at the Literacy Coalition who said that tickets are open to the general public. The photo attachment is from the front page of the Literacy Coalition newsletter. These luncheons are very nice with some "commercials" first and at least 30 minutes from the guest speaker.

Previous speakers were Henry Winkler and LeVar Burton. There is no autograph session, but in the past speakers have graciously signed items as the assistants gently guided them out of the room. There is a Champagne Reception where Patrons will be invited to meet with Sean Astin and have a photo taken with him. Patron tickets are $225 each; Individual tickets are $85 each. There are other Sponsorship Opportunities detailed in the newsletter. More information about the Literacy Coalition can be found at their website: http://www.pbcliteracy.org or by calling 1-800-273 1030. The website has not announced Sean as the guest speaker yet; only those receiving the newsletter have that information at this time.

1-11-05 Latest News

New Houghton Mifflin LOTR Lesson Plans
Xoanon @ 6:14 pm EST

Kathy writes: It's my pleasure to inform TORN that Houghton Mifflin recently posted online secondary school lesson plans (grades 9-12) for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. These curriculum units were written by my husband James Morrow and myself.

Click here or go to houghtonmifflinbooks.com, click on the LOTR icon, then pull down the Librarians/Teachers menu and select Lesson Plans.

My husband, a former educator, is also a novelist (so he was especially interested in highlighting Tolkien's achievement as a writer); I'm an English-major-bookseller type with a lifelong interest in folklore, myth, and epic (including, of course, 30+ readings of LOTR and familiarity with most of the critical works). We also enlisted four talented young teachers as consultants.

We designed the course to last for nine weeks. As you might imagine, we would have liked to include a great deal more content, but lesson plan structure (perhaps like filmmaking in that respect) has demands of its own.

There are still a few data-entry errors sprinkled throughout the plans, but since these are rather obvious -- misplaced attributions, typos, and the like -- we don't think anyone will be led seriously astray before the corrections are made.

As you might imagine, this was a real labor of love, and we emerged from it with more admiration than ever for JRRT and his accomplishments!

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